Jordan Spieth found himself in position to repeat as Australian Open champion on Sunday, but even after a series of opening missteps from overnight leader Matt Jones, the No. 1 player in the world came up one shot short.
Spieth turned in an even-par round of 71 and missed an eagle opportunity on the 72nd hole that would have forced a playoff.
Instead, he made birdie and finished 7 under, tying for second with another previous winner in Adam Scott.
Spieth, Scott and Jones traded the lead down the stretch Sunday, with the 2014 Shell Houston Open champion this time locking down his national open and a trip to the Open Championship.
Jones stumbled out of the blocks, making a double bogey and triple bogey on his front side to go out in 4-over 39 before rallying with a 2-under 34 on the back to win.
''I just told him that was one of the best-fought wins I've ever seen, to come through what he did on 2, 9 and then that par he made on 12,'' Spieth told the Associated Press, referring to Jones par-saving hole-out from the bunker. ''Twelve was by far the tipping point in the round."
Spieth missed out on a bid to join Jack Nicklaus as the only Americans to ever win back-to-back Aussie Opens.
He also lost his course record at the Australian Golf Club. Rod Pampling fired a 61 Sunday, overtaking Spieth's closing 63 last year as the course's low mark.