Masters-bound Jones beats Kuchar in Houston Open playoff

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 05, 2014 6:41 PM

(Reuters) - Australian Matt Jones holed a pitch shot for birdie to earn a last-minute berth in the Masters when he won the $6.4 million Houston Open in a playoff on Sunday.

Jones sank a monster 45-foot birdie at the final hole of regulation before going even better in the playoff to beat American Matt Kuchar at the first extra hole at the Golf Club of Houston.

It is the first PGA Tour victory for Jones, who shot a closing 66 to join Kuchar (72) at 15-under-par 273, two strokes ahead of Spaniard Sergio Garcia.

Jones became the fourth Australian to win on the tour in the past six events, joining Jason Day (WGC Match Play), John Senden (Tampa Bay Championship) and Steven Bowditch (Texas Open).

Kuchar will head to the Masters playing well, but mindful he has failed to close the deal the past two weeks.

He led halfway through the final round of the Texas Open but finished equal fourth, and took a four-shot advantage into the final round in Houston.

Kuchar only needed to par the 72nd hole to win on Sunday, but found the water with his second shot before salvaging a bogey to join Jones in the playoff.

(Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry)