Matt Jones defeats Matt Kuchar in Houston playoff
Matt Jones was able to defeat Matt Kuchar in a playoff on Sunday to claim his first PGA Tour win at the Shell Houston Open.
After getting within one of Sergio Garcia’s lead going into Saturday, Kuchar really took control of the tournament on the weekend when tee times had to be moved up on both days thanks to threatening weather in the Houston area. Garcia struggled on Saturday to a one-over par 73 in tough conditions and Kuchar took advantage, carrying a four-shot lead into Sunday’s final round. There were instances where Kuchar looked a little loose on the course and it appeared that he might open the door for a few players, like he did last week in Texas, but for the most part, he kept it together until he got to the 18th. While on the tee, Jones did this on the 18th green:
Kuchar’s ball found the middle of the fairway from the tee, and having a one-shot lead on Jones, Kuchar just needed to find the 18th green and two putt for the win.
Putting the “golly, Matty” call from Kuchar aside for a second, that shot in the water was one of the worst that I’ve ever seen from a good player in the middle of the fairway. Kuchar would get up and down for bogey to force the playoff.
Kuchar found the middle of the fairway again after Jones ended up in the bunker. Jones had to lay up, and Kuchar missed the green off to the right. That’s when Jones did this:
Amazing. Jones chips in to punch his ticket to Augusta.
- 1. Matt Jones -15
- 2. Matt Kuchar -15
- 3. Sergio Garcia -13
- 4. Cameron Tringale -12
- 5. Shawn Stefani -10
What The Win Means For Jones
Two year exemption on the PGA Tour is probably the most important long term thing here for Jones who gets his first PGA Tour win, but in the short term, he becomes the last player to clinch a spot in the Masters next week. Doing it the way he did, even though it took a Kuchar collapse, makes it feel even more special I’m sure.
Dustin Johnson’s WD
I was going to turn this into a full post, but ended up deciding to throw it in here. Basically, DJ fired an opening round 80 and we heard about an hour or so after his round that he was pulling out, but that he hadn’t given a reason. Friday morning, Jason Sobel received word from Johnson’s agent that he had pulled out because his back was a little stiff and that he just wanted to be ready to go for the Masters next week. Perfectly sound logic, assuming that he was actually hurt but I know that there are a lot of people not buying him here, and it’s not just him as we’ve seen some pretty high profile WD’s after high scores in recent weeks. Apparently the players and the PGA Tour aren’t too thrilled, and to be honest, rightfully so.
For full takes on the issue, please see Shane Bacon at Yahoo and the guys at No Laying Up.
- Notables to miss the cut: Kevin Stadler, Jordan Spieth, D.A. Points, Louis Oosthuizen, Peter Hanson, Paul Casey, Jonas Blixt, Martin Kaymer, Kevin Streelman, Matteo Manassero, Ian Poulter, Peter Uihlein, Padraig Harrington, Scott Stallings, Branden Grace, Charles Howell III, Steven Bowditch and Geoff Ogilvy.
- Other notable finishes: Rickie Fowler (6th), Rory McIlroy, Russell Henley and Retief Goosen (T7), Phil Mickelson (T12), Lee Westwood (T17), Graham DeLaet and Charl Schwartzel (T19), Steve Stricker, Jimmy Walker and Luke Donald (T24), Ryo Ishikawa and Hunter Mahan (T31), Bill Haas (T37), Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and Angel Cabrera (T43), Henrik Stenson (T54) and Webb Simpson (T61).
- Injury report:
- Dustin Johnson (WD – back?): Not expecting any long term problems here. He’ll be in the field at Augusta next week.
- Sean O’Hair (WD – illness): O’Hair played ten holes on Saturday before packing it in. Not in the field at Augusta, which should give him enough time to get better for his next start.
- Nicolas Colsaerts (WD – neck): Colsaerts pulled out ahead of Friday’s second round. Much like O’Hair, he’s not qualified for the Masters, and will try and give it a go in a couple of weeks in Malaysia on the European Tour.
- Seung-yul Noh (WD – wrist): Noh opened with an even par round of 72, but was 7-over par through seven on Friday and decided to walk off after hitting the eighth green with his third shot. Interesting that another Sean Foley client has gone down with an injury, no?
- Shawn Stefani made the most of his sponsor’s exemption, finishing in solo fifth. It’s a good thing he did too because he earned enough money to retain his PGA Tour card after being on a major medical.
- Great week from Retief Goosen too, who is also on a medical and earned his card back in his final start. The swing looks great again and he really does look healthy from all of the back and shoulder problems he was having a few years ago.
- Not going to read too much into the less than ideal finish from both Sergio and Kuchar. Both look ready to contend at Augusta.
- Masters week is finally here. I’ll have lots of coverage starting on Tuesday.
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