Matt Jones – file photo – click to expand
Australians Jason Day and Matt Jones have finished 4th and 5th respectively at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, for Day it was his best finish in a PGA Tour event since a similar performance at Pebble Beach twelve months ago while for Jones it was his best since sharing 4th at the Barbasol Championship in July of last year.
Admittedly, Day finished eight shots from the winner Nick Taylor of Canada but there was a lot to like about just his second tournament in the last three months.
For Day it also continues an impressive record at the Pebble Beach event and reverses a trend which had seen him slip to 46th in the world ranking. This week’s finish will see him now at 38th.
It was Day’s 4th top 4 finish in his last five starts at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and was made even more impressive by the fact that this was just his second start since the Mayakoba Classic in mid-November.
Jones moves inside the world top 100 for the first time since October of 2016, the Sydney golfer now in 91st place.
Day began the day three behind the leader and eventual winner, Taylor, but could never really build any forward momentum early in the final round and blew any chance of contending for the title with a horror start to his closing nine, a bogey at the 11th followed by a double at the 12th sealing his fate.
Jones had a better final day but he too stumbled with a double bogey at the 8th after making an impressive start with four early birdies. A chip-in birdie at the last saw him eventually finish in a share of 5th with two others and it was an encouraging week for the current Australian Open Champion.
The winner, Taylor, led from wire to wire to win his second PGA Tour title, more than five years after his first.
Taylor won by four shots over Kevin Streelman with Phil Mickelson another shot back in 3rd place alone.
Mickelson had a chance to pressure the leader and playing partner Taylor over the closing holes but even though Taylor opened the door with several dropped shots of his own, Mickelson was unable to capitalise and eventually lost ground while Streelman produced one of the better rounds of the day to grab second place.
Other Australians who made it into the final round were Aaron Baddeley who finished 25th alongside New Zealander Tim Wilkinson, Cameron Davis who finished 38th and John Senden who was 67th.
For Senden it was just his second cut made in his last eleven starts.