Aussie golfer ends seven-year drought with $1.6 million triumph

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Aussie Matt Jones (pictured) waves after winning the Honda Classic in Florida.
Aussie Matt Jones (pictured) celebrates winning the Honda Classic in Florida. (Getty Images)

Aussie Matt Jones has won an incredible $1.6 million and booked a late ticket to the Masters after a career-defining performance at the PGA Tour's Honda Classic.

Jones, the current Stonehaven Champ and a two-time Australian Open winner, converted his third round lead into his second Tour title at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Florida.

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The 40-year-old was hitting the ball better than ever as he hit a final round two under, finishing the week at -12, after an awesome ball-striking display.

The win not only lands Jones a whopping $1.6 million payday, but his world ranking jumped from 65th to 11th and will earn him an invite to next month's Masters.

The jump is also a huge step towards potentially qualifying for the elite 30-man Tour Championship for the first time.

Jones chokes up after PGA Tour victory

Little wonder he choked up after completing the biggest win of his career - coming seven years after his maiden win on the PGA Tour.

"Sorry, I'm pretty emotional," Jones said. "It means the world.

"Seven years between wins, it's been a battle. I've had ups, I've had downs.

"I've lost my card, had to go to Q-School. It's just a tough job, but I just worked hard.

"Had some tough times putting but just worked hard with my coach home in Australia, Gary (Barter) and it's finally paid off.

Matt Jones (pictured) raises the trophy after he wins the Honda Classic on March 21, 2021.
Matt Jones wins the Honda Classic on March 21, 2021, at the PGA National Resort and Spa Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. (Photo by Michele Sandberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

"It opens up a lot for me tournament-wise this year."

Jones' last and only Tour win came back in 2014 when he won the Houston Open.

But this time he was able to fight against gusty conditions to secure the historic victory.

While he needed to birdie the 72nd hole to even make that playoff in Houston, Jones dominated in Florida from the get-go.

He opened with a spectacular course-record 61 on Thursday, which former world No.1 Lee Westwood declared "possibly the round of the year".

Matt Jones celebrates after he wins the Honda Classic on March 21, 2021.
Matt Jones wins the Honda Classic on March 21, 2021, at the PGA National Resort and Spa Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. (Photo by Michele Sandberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jones relinquished the halfway lead with an even-par second round before overturning a six-shot deficit to Wise midway through moving day to regain control heading into championship Sunday.

Jones' only wobbles down the stretch were three-putt bogeys on 11 and 14.

But, defying treacherous winds as he had all week, he more than made up for the slip-ups with successive birdies on 12 and 13, then another on 16 to slam the door shut on his challengers.

"It was probably the calmest I've been for a golf tournament for four straight days," Jones said.

"And especially (here), you can't get a tougher golf course to win on than this one in these conditions.

"So to be able to do that on this golf course is amazing and something I can build on for the future hopefully."

with AAP

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