Notes: Jones latest Web.com alum to win on TOUR
April 08, 2014
- Matt Jones' win earned him a spot at the Masters. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
MATT JONES IS GOING TO BOB JONES’ TOURNAMENT – It’s a good bet Matt Jones did not envision he’d be heading to Augusta, Ga. this week when the Aussie began Sunday’s final round of the Shell Houston Open trailing leader Matt Kuchar by six shots. Jones fashioned a 66 on an unseasonably cool Houston day. The round featured back-to-back birdies on the 18th hole, which played the most difficult all week at the host Golf Club of Houston. The first birdie came via a 46-foot putt on the 72nd hole, setting up the playoff. It was followed by a holed 42-yard pitch shot on the first extra hole to defeat Kuchar. Only five other birdies were recorded on No. 18 on Sunday. The 45-minute sequence changed the life of the 33-year-old (turns 34 on April 19th). Not only is he now a PGA TOUR winner for the first time after 156 starts, the victory qualified Jones for his first Masters Tournament.
WEB.COM TOUR CONNECTION – After a solid career at Arizona State University, where he garnered first-team All-American honors in 2001, Matt Jones played four seasons on the Web.com Tour (2004-07), graduating to the PGA TOUR after the 2007 season when he finished seventh on the money list on the strength of four runner-up finishes. Now in his seventh season on TOUR, he has earned $6.8 million. In his post-win remarks, Jones commented about the competition on both the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour. “Next year you’ll see more people win that come through the Web.com Tour. It’s a great tour to come through.”
CARLOS ORTIZ RETURNS HOME A CHAMPION – The Web.com Tour returns to Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico and host El Bosque Country Club for the sixth year in a row this week. Sure to get a lot of attention is Carlos Ortiz, the 22-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, who won last month’s Panama Claro Championship after opening the 2014 season with a third-place finish in the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship presented by Claro in February. The former University of North Texas star, who now resides in Dallas, became the fourth Mexican to win on the Web.com Tour. Last year, Player of the Year Michael Putnam won the El Bosque Mexico Championship by two shots and again at the following event at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm near Washington, D.C.
11 ALUMNI ROOKIES IN AUGUSTA – With Matt Jones’ win on Sunday, 11 players with Web.com Tour roots will be playing in their first Masters Tournament this week – Jonas Blixt, Steven Bowditch, Roberto Castro, Brendon de Jonge, Harris English, Matt Every, Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk, Kevin Stadler, Jimmy Walker and Jones.
SHELL HOUSTON OPEN NOTABLES
• 2013 Web.com Tour grad Brice Garnett chalked up his first PGA TOUR top-10 (T7) in Houston. It was the Missouri’s native 13th start.
• Jason Gore took advantage of the sponsor exemption he received from the Houston Golf Association, parlaying it into a T19 finish and a check for $77,568. In another recent PGA TOUR start, the 2014 Web.com Tour member finished T4 in the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com. The Californian is in the field this week in Mexico.
• Jon Curran, winner of last month’s Brasil Champions presented by HSBC, also made good use of his Shell Houston Open exemption. The 27-year-old from Massachusetts and Vanderbilt University finished T31.
• The Putnam brothers teed it up for the first time in the same PGA TOUR event. TOUR member Michael finished T24, but younger brother and Web.com Tour member Andrew unfortunately missed the cut by three.
KEY WIN FOR FORMER MASTER CHAMP CAME LAST SEPTEMBER – A win in last September’s Web.com Tour Finals’ Hotel Fitness Championship clearly buoyed the career of 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman. The South African arrived at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind. having finished the 2013 PGA TOUR season outside the FedExCup top 125 and seeking to regain his TOUR card. A 16-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole that provided a one-shot cushion of victory was perhaps one of the sweetest moments in Immelman’s very accomplished career on the international stage. The win effectively sealed his card for 2013-14.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH – Alex Cejka is the Web.com Tour’s Player of the Month for February and March. The German won the 2014 season-opening Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship presented by Claro and followed it up with a runner-up at the Brasil Champions presented by HSBC and a T11 at the Panama Claro Championship. Well done, Alex!
GOLF CHANNEL’S LISA CORNWELL JOINS BMW CELEBRITY LINEUP – Golf Channel’s newest on-air talent Lisa Cornwell is the latest addition to the celebrity lineup for next month’s BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation, to be played over three courses in the Greenville, S.C. area. The co-anchor of “Golf Central” is a four-time Arkansas State Amateur champion, who played collegiately at SMU and the University of Arkansas. Over the years, more than 109 celebrities, including Kurt Russell, Wayne Gretzky, Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid, have participated in the Pro-Am, which has raised $9.98 million for 150 charities since 2001.
25 YEARS OF WEB.COM TOUR MEMORIES – On April 7, 1996, Paul Stankowski became the first player to win on both the Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR in back-to-back weeks, capturing the BellSouth Classic near Atlanta seven days after winning the Web.com Tour’s Louisiana Open. The BellSouth win sent him two hours down the road to his first Masters appearance.
NEXT WEEK – The Tour is idle next week before heading to Midland, Texas for the 23rd WNB Golf Classic at Midland Country Club (April 24-27).