Golf results, April 6
Matt Jones told his caddy he was about to make a 42-yard chip-in on the first playoff hole at the Houston Open.
The Australian did just that on Sunday, earning his first PGA Tour win in spectacular fashion - and changing his immediate travel plans in the process.
Jones, who began the day six shots off the lead, shot a final-round 66 and ended the tournament 15 under to earn his first trip to the Masters with the dramatic win over Matt Kuchar.
He earned nearly $1.2 million for the win, also making amends for a disastrous missed putt last September that appeared destined to keep him from playing at Augusta National.
Destiny, however, had other plans for the 33-year-old who played collegiately at Arizona State. Going to Augusta is amazing, Jones said. The win means everything to me right now because thats what we play for is to win. To have Augusta as a reward for that win is amazing.
After briefly tying Kuchar in the middle of the round on Sunday, Jones appeared finished after he bogeyed the next-to-last hole in regulation. The setback left Jones at 14 under, two shots back of Kuchar.
However, Jones - in the first of his two memorable moments on the 18th - rolled in a 46-foot putt for birdie. That pulled the Australian within one shot of Kuchar, who was watching his closest challenger from the tee.
I was going to three-putt before I left it short, Jones said. I didnt care about finishing second or third or fourth; it didnt matter. I was only trying to get the win.
Kuchar went on to bogey the final hole of regulation after sending his second shot into the water. That set the stage for the playoff in the soggy conditions at the Golf Club of Houston.
Jones sent his tee shot on the first hole of the playoff into the right fairway bunker. He then landed just short of the greenside bunker with his second shot, while Kuchar found the bunker from the fairway.
It was the second straight miss of the 18th green from the fairway for Kuchar, who sent his fairway metal on the 72nd hole into the water before recovering to make bogey and reach the playoff.
Jones didnt leave Kuchar any room for error in the playoff, sending his chip over the greenside bunker and watching as it rolled in - causing a roar from the gallery and leaving Jones standing with his arm raised in celebration.
Drive, Chip & Putt: Lucy Li made the most of her trip to Augusta National.
Li, an 11-year-old from Redwood City, won her age division Sunday in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship. She scored 26 points in the three categories to edge Jacqueline Nguyen of Houston by one in the Girls 10-11 competition.
Other winners included Natalie Pietromonaco of Auburn (Girls 12-13). She and Li were the only two contestants from Northern California among the 88 players, ages 7 to 15, who qualified for the finals of the national junior skills competition.
European Tour: Unheralded Marco Crespi of Italy won his first European Tour title after carding a 3-under 69 in the final round to claim the inaugural edition of the NH Collection Open at Cadiz, Spain.