Thomas Takes Jones Cup
SEA ISLAND, GEORGIA | Justin
Thomas shot a splendid final-round 69, 3-under par, to capture
the Jones Cup Invitational Sunday
at Ocean Forest Golf Club. Making
his second appearance in this
early-year tournament, Thomas
posted a 54-hole total of even-par
216 to beat second-round leader
Manav Shah by two shots.
Louisiana State University
stalwart Curtis Thompson took
the first-round lead in very difficult conditions with a 2-under-
par 70, but UCLA redshirt sophomore Shah passed him after 36
holes with a pair of 1-under-par
five shots behind Shah. But his
four birdie, one bogey effort
earned him the prestigious win.
A standout junior player from
Kentucky, Thomas enrolled at
Alabama last fall and promptly
won his first collegiate tourna-
ment. One of five Crimson Tide
team members in the field,
Thomas leads his team in scor-
ing average. He is the 11th-
ranked college golfer in the U.S.
and is ranked No. 54 in the World
Amateur Golf Ranking.
Thompson, bidding for his second consecutive amateur win after
taking the Dixie Amateur before
Christmas, came undone after
playing a four-hole stretch on the
front side in 6-over par. His final-round 80 resulted in a T21 finish.
the highest ranked international
player was France’s Gary Stal
at No. 11. Thirteen nations were
represented in the field.
For the first time in the six-year history of the Jones Cup, a
qualifier was held. Stahl proudly
pointed out that demand far and
away outstripped the available 90
spots in the championship. A total
of 78 players attempted to qualify
for five spots in mid-January. The
medalist was Chase Miller, who
missed the course record by a
shot when he posted a 67 with a
double-bogey on the final hole.
JONES CUP NOTEBOOK
The Jones Cup had its usual
stellar field despite being
played as the U.S. college
golf season swings into
action. Both the U.S. and
Three Walker Cuppers were in
the field: Rhys Pugh from the win-
ning GB&I team, and Americans
Blayne Barber and Kraft. Kraft,
the reigning U.S. Amateur cham-
pion, made a side visit to Augusta
National on the way to Sea Island
for a Masters tuneup. “Amazing”
was how he characterized the
experience. It was his first time at
the club since he won the Amateur
title in August, and he hopes to
return once or twice before the
tournament begins in April. l
England’s Neil Raymond captured the
weather-plagued New South Wales Medal
on Thursday in a one-hole playoff with local
favorite Brett Drewitt.
The championship’s final two rounds
were canceled by torrential downpours at
Mona Vale Golf Club in Sydney, Australia.
Raymond (67-74), the reigning Brabazon
Trophy champion from Hampshire, and Drewitt (73-68), who won last year’s South Australia Amateur, were deadlocked on 3-under-
par 141 after 36 holes, before returning to the
180-yard, par- 3 sixth to begin the playoff.
It appeared Drewitt had the upper hand
off the tee when his iron found the green,
while Walker Cup player Raymond pulled
his tee shot left of the green. Raymond’s
pitch stopped 15 feet short of the flag, but
Drewitt left his first putt six feet short. When
Raymond calmly holed his par putt, the
pressure was heavy on Drewitt. And when he
missed the putt, the title was Raymond’s.
With the victory, Raymond enters today’s
first round of the NSW Amateur as the No. 1
seed of the 32 qualifiers at Elanora Golf Club.
He will play Matt Stieger, the 2011 Australian Amateur champion, and the 32nd seed,
who survived a playoff himself to reach the
match-play portion of the championship.
Ireland made a good showing in the stroke
play, led by Gary Hurley (70-74) and Reeve
Whitson (72-72) sharing fourth place on 144,
while Niall Gorey (74-71) finished eighth.
Several of the top players early this season
in Australia failed to make it to match play.
Daniel Nisbet, who won at Lake Macquarie two weeks ago after finishing second at
the Master of the Amateurs and Australian
Amateur, shot 77-81 to finish in a tie for 100th.
Master of the Amateurs winner Nathan Hol-
man finished 83rd on rounds of 76-79, while
Cameron Smith, Australian Stroke Play cham-
pion, posted 82-77 to finish 108th.
NISBET CONTINUES MOVE UP WAGR
Daniel Nisbet continues to charge up-
ward in the World Amateur Golf Ranking,
landing this week in the 34th position. Nes-
bit’s remarkable three-week run in Australia
has enabled him to climb up from No. 174
in the world in less than a month. Fellow
countryman Cameron Smith crept inside the
top 20 in the world to No. 17 after a runner-
up showing at the Lake Macquarie Amateur.
UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay contin-
ues to hold a wide lead over No. 2-ranked