PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – When Matt Jones won his first PGA Tour title seven years ago, he needed a 45-foot birdie putt just to get into a playoff and then a 40-yard chip-in to take the victory.
This win was far less dramatic, yet just as meaningful.
It got him back to the Masters.
Jones won the Honda Classic by five shots Sunday, a final round of 2-under 68 good enough to finish the week at 12-under 268 at PGA National. The margin matched the largest in tournament history, tying the mark set by Jack Nicklaus in 1977 and matched by Camilo Villegas in 2010.
“It’s been seven years. It’s been a tough seven years," Jones said. “I’ve had ups and I’ve had downs, as all golfers have, but it gets me into a lot of big tournaments now."
The 40-year-old Australian earned $1.26 million and, this time, he’ll have more than a day to prepare for the trip to Augusta National. His win at the Houston Open in 2014 — and his Masters invite — came just one day before he had to go to Augusta, making it a scramble to get family and friends together to share in the experience.
The Masters starts April 8, so he's got much more time to plan this one.
“It’s going to be nice," Jones said. “I can go prep for the Masters this time. Last time it was an absolute blur. I can’t remember a thing about it, so I’m going to do some prep this time before."