Matt Jones has won his second Australian Open crown in a dramatic finale on his home course in Sydney.
Jones made a clutch up-and-down par at the last to claim a one-stroke victory on Sunday over South African Louis Oosthuizen, who eagled the 72nd hole to set up a thrilling climax.
Champion in 2015 at The Australian Golf Club, where he’s been a member since he was 15, Jones finished at 15 under par for the tournament after closing with a 69.
Jones looked like winning in a procession before Oosthuizen’s late heroics.
Like a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park, Jones casually walked the fairways hand in hand with his wife, a former Miss Idaho, and seven-year-old daughter Sabre as he watched his challengers come and go for most of the afternoon.
But things got dicey when Oosthuizen suddenly cut his lead to one and then Jones found a bunker off the tee on 18.
Unable to re-find the fairway from the trap, he left his approach 10 metres short and had to hole a five-foot putt to become the 19th multiple winner of the Open – and first since American superstar Jordan Spieth three years ago.
But unlike when he held on grimly to deny Spieth and Adam Scott by a shot four years ago, after racking up double and triple bogeys on a nervy front nine, Jones wasn’t threatened until the death on Sunday.
His overnight three-stroke lead was never trimmed to anything less than two shots until he walked to the 18th.
He had one hand on the Stonehaven Cup after stretching his advantage to four after negotiating the front nine in even par.
After successive birdies on the 13th and 14th holes, Jones could afford a bogey on 15 and still edge out Oosthuizen, who closed with a 68 to finish solo second.
Queenslander Aaron Pike (69) earned his first major start, a trip to Sandwich for next year’s British Open, after sharing third spot with Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya (71).
Chasing his maiden major win on home soil, Marc Leishman had been mounting a challenge until his round unravelled with a double-bogey on nine.
Leishman sprayed his approach into the deep rough right, chopped out to the cart path and then came up short before two-putting to fall six shots off the pace.
The US PGA Tour star eventually signed for a 71 to finish in a share of 10th at seven under.
269: Matt Jones
270: Louis Oosthuizen
275: Takumi Kanaya (a) Aaron Pike
276: Paul Casey Greg Chalmers Denzel Ieremia Cameron Tringale, Chu-An Yu
277: Jammie Arnold, Deyen Lawson, Marc Leishman.
278: Richard Green Jason Scrivener