NSW Golf

Jones dials long distance for spark

Matt Jones
Matt Jones poured in six birdies today in Memphis.

Matt Jones rediscovered the old magic today to sit within one of the St Jude Classic lead on the US PGA Tour.

The Sydneysider fired a five-under-par 65 at the TPC Southwind course in Memphis, including one of the putts of the year to underline his returning confidence.

After enduring a three-putt from inside 10m on the par-four 13th for what turned out to be his only bogey for the day, Jones drained an absolute beast on the next hole to kickstart a great finish.

His curling 55-footer up and over a central ridge brought high praise from commentators and fans alike, but more importantly sparked further birdies on the 16th and 18th to pull within one of Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz and American trio Matt Every, Scott Brown and Stewart Cink and their 64s.

Jones was comfortably the best performed of the Australian contingent with Adam Scott and Brett Drewitt next best at one over par. Curtis Luck, Cam Percy and Stuart Appleby each fired two-over 72s, while Steve Bowditch suffered two early double-bogeys but fought hard to sign for a 74.

It’s an important week for Jones, 37, whose last win on US soil came at the Houston Open in 2014.

His win at the following year’s Emirates Australian Open at his home course at The Australian catapulted him to the verge of the top 50 in the world rankings, but it’s since been a steady decline until a recent up-tick in form.

Jones missed the FedEx Cup playoffs last year by a spot at No.126, giving him reduced status this year. He’s currently ranked 137th after 12 events this year, but he has four top-25 finishes including a recent T13 at the Texas Open to help his confidence.

So tight is the race for spots at the bottom end of the all-important FedEx Cup standings that his fifth place after round one projects him up 114th in the standings, so three more good rounds will make a world of difference to his season.

15 February 2019
ANTILL PARK: Medley: Stableford 2B: White: D Rankin (22) D Kennedy (Camden Valley 12) 48. 2B Scr: P Bradley B Willingham 40 cb. A: S Newbury (10) 39. ... more
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