Australian Matt Jones has won his second Australian Open after a nailbiting finish to win the Stonehaven Cup by one stroke ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen with Kiwi hope Denzel Ieremia finishing tied for fifth.
In an extraordinary final two holes, Jones sunk a long birdie putt on 17 that took him to 15-under and 3 shots clear of Oosthuizen. But minutes later on the 18th, Oosthuizen himself sunk a longer putt for eagle to move to 14-under with Jones about to tee off at the 18th.
In a strange twist of fate, Jones was given advice that Oosthuizen had only parred the 18th not eagled it and took the foot off the pedal, shanking his tee shot into a fairway bunker, his second went about 10 metres into pine bark on the side of the fairway and his third shot pulled up short of the green still needing to make par to win the championship.
With Oosthuizen looking on from the scorers shed, Jones managed to go up and down for two to par the hole and win the title by one stroke. He also secured himself a start in the Open at Royal St George’s next year as did third placegetters Aaron Pike and Takumi Kanaya.
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For 23-year-old Denzel Ieremia, today was the culmination of a wonderful two weeks of golf, after a 6th placing at the NSW Open last week and a tie for a fifth-place here alongside the likes of Paul Casey and Greg Chalmers.
Ieremia again was steady on the front nine, just dropping a shot on the 7th as the easterly wind started to pick up.
But it was on the 10th when drama unfolded and Ieremia’s tee shot hit a spectator as he was preoccupied watching those tee off on the 11th.
Medics were called and Ieremia could be seen visibly upset for the man who was eventually ok after being checked over. Ieremia then composed himself to place some inspired golf on the back nine grabbing birdies at 12,16 and 18. If it wasn’t for the double bogey on 15, he could’ve been packing his bags ready for the Open as well.
Even on the 18th, he had an eagle putt which missed by millimetres but underlined what a stunning week it has been.
Ryan Fox had another terrific day, next best Kiwi finishing with 1-under today and 3-under for the championship.
James Anstiss started well on Thursday with a 69 and finished today with a 72, and 2-under for the tournament. Mark Brown and Campbell Rawson both 1-under, while Ryan Chisnall and Michael Hendry didn’t have their best days but finish on 1-over.
Daniel Pearce finished on 4 over with a 74 today and after being right in the hunt after the first two rounds, Fraser MacLachlan stumbled on the weekend dropping 13 shots to finish 8 over for the tournament.