SYDNEY (AP) — Cruising for most of the final round and a leader after the second and third, Matt Jones suddenly needed to make a big putt on his final hole for a second Australian Open title.
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He came through, making a testing four-foot par putt on the 18th to hold off Louis Oosthuizen by one stroke after a 2-under 69.
Jones, who is a member at the host Australian Golf Club and won his first national title there in 2015, had a 72-hole total of 15-under 269.
Oosthuizen, playing for the first time in Sydney, finished second after a 66. The South African eagled the 18th after hitting his second shot to 15 feet, making things interesting for Jones at the end.
”I was told on the 18th fairway that Louis had made eagle ahead of me,” Jones said. “So it was a pretty good up and down to win the championship.”.
Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya (71) finished tied for third with Australian Aaron Pike (69).
Jones, Kanaya and Pike qualified for next year’s British Open by finishing among the top three who were not already qualified. Former British Open champion Oosthuizen was already exempt for next year’s tournament from July 16-19 at Royal St. George’s.
It’s Jones’ third qualifying spot for the British Open via a top finish in his home Open.
“I’ve played in maybe five British Opens and it’s the one major I would most like to win,” Jones said. “To be able to do that and plan a schedule around that, will be fantastic.”.
Kanaya said he didn’t realize he needed a birdie putt on 18 to make it into the top three.
“No I didn’t, but happy to be going there,” he said.
Chasing his first big win in Australia, Marc Leishman mounted a challenge until his round came undone with a double-bogey on nine.
Leishman sprayed his approach into the deep rough right, chopped out to the cart path and came up short before two-putting to fall six shots off the pace.
He shot 71 to finish in a share of 10th at seven under.
Oosthuizen, Leishman and Adam Scott, who missed the cut, now move on to Royal Melbourne for next week’s Presidents Cup, where they are all members of the International team.
Their team captain, Ernie Els, missed the Australian Open cut, giving him some extra time to prepare for the four-day tournament against a United States team which has only lost once previously — at Royal Melbourne in 1998.
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