Jones enjoying the moment- photo Jared Tilton Getty Images.
It started with his brilliant best-ever PGA Tour round of 61 on Friday at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens in Florida and finished today with an impressive front running round of 68 on one of the most demanding of layouts on which to lead a tournament.
40-year-old Australian Matt Jones did just that to win his second PGA Tour title by five shots nearly seven years after his first, add US$1.26 million to his PGA Tour earnings and take them to US$15 million, earn an invite to this year’s Masters, move to 49th in the world ranking and to 11th in the FedEx Cup table.
To say the least it has been a milestone week for the two-time Australian Open champion and highlights a game that is perhaps even better than his record to date shows.
Jones’ three shot 54 hole lead was reduced to just one when Aaron Wise made a fast start and turned in 32 to be just one behind but disaster would strike Wise when, looking for his second PGA Tour title, he four putted the 10th to fall four behind.
Although Jones would three-putt on two occasions on the inward nine such was his margin that he was able to enjoy a five shot lead over Brandon Hagy playing the last.
Jones was not about to make any mistakes, plotting his way conservatively up the par five last, two putting from 40 feet for par and the five-shot victory over Hagy.
Hagy, a late inclusion in the tournament, had begun his final round seven off the lead but the combination of his own brilliant best of the day 66 and the demise of several of those ahead of him starting the day saw him move into second place.
Jones was understandably emotional after his win especially given the quality of his ball striking suggesting it was his best-ever week in that regard.
“I said that to Lance (caddie) walking up 18,” said Jones. “That’s the best I’ve hit it from tee to green for, ever. And to be able to do it on this golf course is amazing. I mean, you have to do it out here to have a chance and I did it.
“I probably had a goal this week to walk a little slower and just relax. I’m normally an up-pace up-tempo person, play golf quickly, so I tried to stay calm and stay relaxed out there, and I know you have to be when you play this golf course, so I actually probably set that as a little goal this week and it worked out.
“It’s not easy to win out here. I’ve had a couple of chances, but they’re few and far between unless you’re the top guys, which they’re there regularly. But for me to close it out today on this golf course is amazing and it’s something that I can always look back on.
“I mean, golf, it’s a very tough sport we play out here. It’s very cut-throat. We’re working to keep our jobs every year and you have to perform well to be able to do that. So it’s probably been seven years since I won, but I’ve had some lean years in there, and to get back to the winner’s circle and to win this golf tournament was pretty emotional for me.”
One of the rewards for this win is a start at the Masters in two week’s time and Jones is aware of the fact that this time he will have a greater opportunity to prepare for the iconic event.
In 2014 he won the week before in Houston to qualify for the Masters so only had three days to prepare for his debut and one of those was washed out but this time he has time to get things in order. His standard right to left game should stand him in good stead for a solid week at Augusta National which typically favours that shot shape.
“It’s going to be nice,” added Jones. “I can go prep for the Masters this time. Last time it was an absolute blur. I can’t remember a thing about it, so I’m going to do some prep this time before.
Adam Scott continued his build up to Augusta National with an encouraging week. The former winner of this event finished with a final round of 68 to share 13th place in the event, his two birdie and no bogey round, a solid preparation for the Masters which is now just over two weeks away.
Cameron Davis tied for 33rd after a final round which included six bogeys and three birdies and Lucas Herbert was 46th.
Herbert remains as first alternate for next week’s WGC Dell Match Play Championship in Texas but he also has an invite to the PGA Tour’s alternate event in the Dominican Republic so he has a possible two options this coming week.