Even though Matt Jones didn’t come away with the win at Kapalua, he didn’t leave Maui empty-handed.
The 41-year-old Aussie followed up a Saturday 62 by tying the Plantation Course record with a final-round, 12-under 61. Those consecutive rounds accumulated to a 23-under weekend, which not only sealed a third-place finish for Jones but also marked the lowest 36-hole score in relation to par in PGA Tour history, topping Steve Stricker’s 21 under (61-62) at the 2009 Bob Hope Classic.
Also, Jones’ 72-hole total of 32 under broke Ernie Els’ record of 31 under, which Els set at Kapalua in 2003. The only problem: Jon Rahm (33 under) and winner Cameron Smith (34 under) also supplanted Els.
“I mean, it just goes to show the depth of the PGA Tour and how good the players are,” Jones said. “If you told me I would have shot 32 under I would have been more than happy to sit in the clubhouse and let everyone play and see what happens.”
Full-field scores from the Sentry Tournament of Champions
Jones put on a clinic on the back nine to get within striking distance of the lead. He holed out from 85 yards for eagle on No. 13, landed an approach shot on No. 15 within 4 feet of the cup to set up another eagle and then canned a 52-foot putt for birdie on No. 17.
“You just have a lot of opportunities out there and I was lucky enough to make some putts today and yesterday and then holed out a few shots today,” Jones said.
“Great start to this year,” he added. “Hopefully something I can build on for the rest of the year.”