Matt Jones has won the Shell Houston Open, the final tournament before the Masters begins next week, after a dramatic play-off against Matt Kuchar.
Kuchar had looked as if he was going to claim the title, after being a shot clear heading into the final hole and hitting a nice drive.
However, the American inexplicably shanked his second shot into the water and made bogey, meaning the pair had to have a play-off to decide the winner of the competition.
The duo then went down the 18th again and history repeated itself as Kuchar hit a brilliant drive before miss-hitting his second-shot, from the middle of the fairway, straight into the bunker. It was the chance Jones needed, as he chipped in from 40 yards to claim victory in spectacular style.
Kuchar, who had gone into the day four shots clear of his nearest rival, failed to find the form that he had shown in the opening three days of the competition, meaning his advantage was cut so short that eventually the nerves got to him and he collapsed from what looked a routine winning position.
It means Jones, who started the final round six shots behind Kuchar, will now have the opportunity to play at the Masters next week and the Australian admitted that he would have ‘a lot of tickets to book’ to get his friends and family over for the competition.
Elsewhere, Sergio Garcia, who had led the competition at the mid-way stage, ended up finishing in third position, two-shots behind the eventual leaders. The Spaniard has looked in good form all week, though, and will be in a very positive move as he heads off to Augusta.
Slightly further down the leader-board, Rory McIlroy’s final round before the Masters would have given him confidence that he fully equipped to live up to his billing as the favourite to win the tournament. The Northern Irishman was in superb form and went round in a seven-under-par, 65, without dropping a shot. He finished the competition in T7 on -8.
Phil Mickelson, another one of the favourites in Augusta, also had a decent week, showing little signs that the muscle injury that forced him to withdraw from the Texas Open two weeks ago and threatened to rule him out of the Masters, and finished on -7 in T12.
It was certainly Jones’ tournament, though, as he won his first ever competition on the tour since turning professional in 2001.
Now, all attention turns to Augusta.
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