Jones holds off charging Oosthuizen to win Australian Open

Matt Jones (Getty Images)
Matt Jones (Getty Images)

Sydney - Matt Jones joined an elite few by winning his second Australian Open on Sunday, resisting big pressure on the back nine from South African Louis Oosthuizen to clinch victory by a shot.

The 39-year-old, who grew up playing at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney before taking his game to the United States, stroked a final round 69 to earn a place at the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St George's.

He joins the likes of Aaron Baddeley, Jordan Spieth, and Robert Allenby among his contemporaries to have won two Stonehaven Cups.

On a warm, gusty day, he ended at 15-under for the tournament, one ahead of Oosthuizen, who warmed-up for the Presidents Cup against the Tiger Woods-led Americans in Melbourne this week with impressive form.

The world number 24 moved within two shots of Jones with back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11 and sunk a spectacular eagle on the 18th in his 66, leaving the Australian needing par to win on his last hole.

Jones clipped a tree on his second shot and landed in the sand, but held his nerve to reach the green and nail a pressure putt to claim victory.

"It wasn't easy out there today, the conditions were tough and I just managed to get it done," said Jones, who took a three-shot lead into the final round and was ecstatic at qualifying for another major championship.

"I've played in maybe five British Opens and it's the one major I would most like to win. To be able to do that and plan a schedule around that, will be fantastic."

Japan's Takumi Kanaya, the world's top-ranked amateur, and Australian Aaron Pike ended tied for third, six shots behind Jones. Both also qualified for next year's British Open.

England's Paul Casey, the highest-ranked player in the field at 14, hit a final round 72 to tie for fifth among a group of five, including exciting South Korean amateur Yu Chun-am.

"I think coming on the back nine I just wanted to try and get some numbers up there so that he's (Jones) a little bit under pressure, but he did really well," said Oosthuizen, adding that he took a lot of confidence out of his performance.

"I used this week as preparation for next and obviously, Aussie Open is a great event to play," he said. "First time over here, we had a good time. I'll take a lot of confidence out of this and hopefully we can pull it off next week."

Among others in the field who now head to Royal Melbourne to play with the International team at the Presidents Cup, Marc Leishman hit a 71 to end eight behind Jones and fellow Australian Cameron Smith was five further back.

Mexico's Abraham Ancer, the Australian Open defending champion, finished 14 off the pace while local hero Adam Scott missed the cut.

Leading final round scores at the Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney Sunday (par 71, AUS unless stated, *denotes amateur):

269 - Matt Jones 67-65-68-69

270 - Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 68-66-70-66

275 - Aaron Pike 71-66-69-69, *Takumi Kanaya (JPN) 65-69-70-71 

276 - *Yu Chun-an (TPE) 65-70-74-67, Greg Chalmers 71-68-70-67, Denzel Ieremia (NZL) 69-65-71-71, Paul Casey (ENG) 68-65-71-72, Cameron Tringale (USA) 69-65-69-73

277 - Deyen Lawson 72-65-74-66, Marc Leishman 69-67-70-71, Jamie Arnold 70-71-64-72

278 - Richard Green 72-67-68-71, Jason Scrivener 68-71-68-71

279 - Shae Wools-Cobb 69-65-72-73

280 - Cory Crawford 71-69-69-71, Stephen Allan 70-68-72-70, Dimitrios Papadatos 67-66-75-72, David Bransdon 71-66-70-73, Blake Windred 68-68-70-74

281 - Maverick Antcliff 71-70-73-67, Darren Beck 71-69-71-70, James Marchesani 68-73-71-69, Ryan Fox (NZL) 71-68-72-70, *Lukas Michel 68-67-74-72, KJ Choi (KOR) 69-71-69-72

282 - *Hayden Hopewell 68-68-74-72, Smylie Kaufman (USA) 75-66-71-70, Wade Ormsby 68-69-74-71, Cameron Smith 68-72-70-72, Peter Lonard 69-69-71-73, James Antiss (NZL) 69-71-70-72

283 - Abraham Ancer (MEX) 72-66-73-72, Scott Arnold 68-67-75-73, Nick Cullen 73-68-75-67, Andrew Dodt 72-69-71-71, David Micheluzzi 70-68-75-70, Blake Proverbs 70-71-75-67, Brett Rankin 70-71-76-66, Campbell Rawson (NZL) 69-71-73-70, *Elvis Smylie 70-67-75-71, Aaron Wilkin 71-68-70-74, Mark Brown (NZL) 71-65-73-74, Brett Rumford 69-67-70-77

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