Be at the birth of your third child or play in the Open Championship?
That is the excruciating decision that could face Matt Jones next year.
Jones, from Oyster Bay, qualified for the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland thanks to his tied second finish at the Australian Open on Sunday.
It would be his fourth Open Championship and first since 2016 after missing this year’s tournament having finished 54th, 30th and 39th in his three previous efforts. It would also be his first Open at Carnoustie, with the fearsome Angus links deservedly regarded as the toughest course on the Open rotation.
But, with wife Melissa expecting their third child around the date of the July tournament, it is a tough choice Jones will have to make.
“I played Carnoustie back in ‘97 so it’ll be fun to get back there,” he said.
“I just hope my wife’s baby doesn’t come that week so we’ll see what happens. We’ll discuss that and we’ll see.”
Jones secured a place at the 2018 Open Championship after narrowly missing out on winning a second Stonehaven Cup on Sunday.
I played Carnoustie back in ‘97 so it’ll be fun to get back there.Matt Jones
Jones finished one shot behind 21-year-old Cameron Davis who won his first Australian Open 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.
Jones needed a birdie-eagle finish to force a play-off but fell just short. While he couldn’t add to his 2015 Australian Open title, a guaranteed appearance at next year’s Open Championship wasn’t a bad consolation prize.
It was another solid tournament from Jones, who shot rounds of 71, 67, 68 and 68 after missing the defence of his title last year.
“I played myself out of the tournament on the front nine. I gave myself a chance there on the last but I always had an uphill battle there. But I was pretty proud of the way I finished,” Jones said.
“I’ve always battled with the front nine on this golf course. It’s always been my nemesis. And you could probably see that from my scores this week. If I’d played the back nine every day I’d probably win by five or 10. But that front nine with those tough par threes, they’re not comfortable for me at all. And then I just hit a couple of errant shots which I normally don’t do on six. I missed a short putt on three but other than that I played great on the back nine.
“Once I saw the scores after 15 I knew I had to birdie 16, 17 and eagle 18. I think I came close to eagle on 17. And I had a chance on 18, I thought I knew the putt from two years ago. It was pretty much the same putt but it went up there and went right instead of going left.
“But congratulations to Cameron he did great and he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”