A stirring finish close to home has carried Arizona State University alum Matt Jones to the best finish of any Aussies on tour at the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale.
Crowds were down as was the Australian presence with Jones and Jason Day the only Aussies to tee it up in the desert setting, Jones bouncing back from a difficult start Sunday to rattle off four birdies in his closing eight holes to finish in a tie for 30th in his home town as Brooks Koepka registered his second win in the event.
With a best finish in the event of a tie for 12th seven years ago, Jones began the final round within reach of a top-20 finish but bogeys at four, six and seven resulted in a move on the leaderboard in the opposite direction that he was hoping.
The 40-year-old dropped a bomb from 47 feet at 11 to kick-start his back nine and very nearly followed that up with an eagle putt from 75 feet at the par-5 13th, making his birdie putt from a foot to get back to 1-under on his round.
Further birdies at 15 and 18 rounded out a closing 3-under 68 and a move of four spots up to 52nd in the FedEx Cup.
Day could only muster five birdies in his opening two rounds as he missed the cut as did Kiwi Danny Lee, who made four birdies in succession to complete his second round to come up one short of the weekend.
Like Jones on the PGA TOUR, only one Australian qualified for the weekend at the European Tour’s Saudi International but it was New Zealand’s Ryan Fox who flew the flag for the Australasian contingent by finishing tied for sixth.
Tied for the lead through 36 holes, Fox fell into a tie for seventh following a third round of 1-over 71 but went out in 2-under 33 on Sunday on his way to a 2-under 68 and a finishing position among the game’s very elite, world No.1 Dustin Johnson winning for the second time in three years.
South Australian Wade Ormsby was the lone Australian to play all four rounds at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, bogeys on three of his final five holes resulting in a tie for 63rd.
Royal Greens G&CC, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia
Won by Dustin Johnson (USA) at -15 by two shots
T6 Ryan Fox, 65-65-71-68—269
T63 Wade Ormsby, 71-69-69-71—280
MC Scott Hend, 71-70—141
MC Lucas Herbert, 70-71—141
MC Min Woo Lee, 69-72—141
MC Jason Scrivener, 75-68—143
Waste Management Phoenix Open
TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona
Won by Brooks Koepka (USA) at -19 by one shot
T30 Matt Jones, 68-69-69-68—274
MC Jason Day, 71-70—141
MC Danny Lee, 74-67—141
ISPS HANDA PGA TOUR OF AUSTRALASIA
Victorian PGA Championship
Moonah Links Resort, Victoria, Australia
Won by Christopher Wood (QLD) at -20 by one shot
1 Chris Wood, 69-66-66-67—268
T2 Michael Sim, 66-66-68-69—269
T2 James Anstiss, 67-68-63-71—269
4 Blake Windred, 64-69-66-71—270
T5 Justin Warren, 65-64-73-70—272
T5 Michael Hendry, 65-70-67-70—2712
7 Anthony Quayle, 65-69-69-70—273