Matt Jones has secured a place at the 2018 Open Championship after narrowly missing out on winning a second Stonehaven Cup.
Jones, from Oyster Bay, finished one shot behind 21-year-old Cameron Davis who won his first Australian Open on Sunday thanks to a blistering final round 64 to win by one shot from Jones and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt.
Jones started the day in the mix at seven under par, three behind leader Jason Day. But a calamitous start had the 37-year-old four over through his first six holes on his home course at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney and seemingly out of the tournament.
But an incredible final 12 holes saw Jones make seven birdies to finish three under for the day and 10 under overall.
With Davis making birdie on 18 to finish 11 under, Jones needed a birdie-eagle finish to force a play-off. A sublime approach shot ensured birdie on 17, before a piped drive down the middle of the fairway and a 3-wood to the right side of the green gave Jones a 40-foot putt for eagle.
Jones’ ball rolled agonisingly past the hole but, while he couldn’t add to his 2015 Australian Open title, a guaranteed appearance at the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie in Scotland next July wasn’t a bad consolation prize.
It was another solid tournament from Jones, who shot rounds of 71, 67, 68 and 68 to finish second after missing the defence of his title last year.
For Davis it was a dream come true. After winning the Australian Amateur at The Australian just two years ago Davis, ranked No.1494 in the world, holed an approach from more than 70 metres to eagle the 12th hole, then pumped his fist after draining a mid-range birdie putt on the last. Then, Davis waited for five groups behind him to finish.
American superstar Jordan Spieth shot a final round 67 to finish at six under but the defending champion was never in contention on the final day.
The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney will host the tournament for the seventh time next year before returning to The Australian in 2019.