The Local Knowlege

Instruction

How He Hit That: Matt Jones' playoff-winning pitch

By Matthew Rudy

The Situation: Matt Jones was in the first hole of a playoff against Matt Kuchar at the Shell Houston Open Sunday. His approach shot missed the green short and right, leaving him a 42-yard pitch shot from the light rough over a bunker to a pin sitting across a ridge and up on a tier. 

The Shot: Jones caught the pitch cleanly, landed the shot on the lower tier, and watched as the ball tracked up the ridge and rolled into the hole like a putt. Kuchar was in the bunker in two shots, and when he failed to hole out Jones earned his first PGA Tour victory and his first trip to the Masters.      

The Analysis: "Matt Jones already had a great picture of the ball going in the hole on the 18th green when he holed a very long putt on the 72nd hole to get within one of the lead," says top California instructor Jerome Andrews. "His frame of mind was great, and he executed the four A's of a perfect routine to hit the shot of his life. 

"He analyzed the lie and saw he had a good one. He could hit a normal pitch shot. He then affirmed the swing motion by taking a few practice swings which would allow him to carry the ball in the air over the bunker to a spot he picked out on the first tier of the green. Matt then acquired the target after his last practice swing and swung the club freely and effortlessly by setting up with his nose slightly left of the ball, placing 60 percent of his upper and lower body weight in his front leg, hinging his wrists to initiate the swinging of the clubhead and keeping his legs still. Lastly, he accepted the outcome of the shot. Once you've picked your shot and done your routine well, you let it go and accept whatever happens. In this case, it was a hole out and a ticket to Augusta."