THE rest of the field at the 2015 Australian Open aren’t really keeping up with Matt Jones with the Australian Golf Club member showing a clean pair of heels into the weekend.
Jones shot a second round 3-under 68 to take his tally to 7-under and a three shot lead over rookie professional Todd Sinnott (70).
Jones might have a home town advantage but the course, particularly the greens, have changed quite a bit since he was a regular.
“I do know the golf course, I’m comfortable with lines of the tees and that,” said Jones, who now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and won the 2014 Shell Houston Open on the US PGA Tour.
“The greens are completely different to what I grew upon here, different grass, a lot of different breaks. I do have local knowledge and it’ll be fun to be out there on the weekend with a lot of friends and family and members from this course out there.”
Jones was feeling confident about his game but wasn’t getting ahead of himself, particularly in a field with the likes of world No.1 Jordan Spieth (68), Nicolas Colsaerts (66), Geoff Ogilvy (71),Aron Price (68) and overnight leader Lincoln Tighe (73) all lurking at 3 –under.
“ … of course I’ve thought about [winning the Australian Open], it would be fantastic,” the 35 year old said.
“Any time you have a chance to win your own country’s Open, would be fantastic. But, two days to go; I can’t really be thinking about that now. I’ll be thinking about that if I have a chance coming down the stretch on Sunday.”
Jones was in contention five years ago at the Open at The Lakes but ultimately finishing tied second behind Ogilvy.
This time he sees himself as a more rounded player.
“Yeah, probably five more years of experience, being more comfortable in this situation and knowing that if I don’t play well enough, it’s not the end of the world,” he said.
“I’m sure I used to let it get to me a lot more when I was younger but nowadays you go home, play with your kids and you forget about it.
“That’s probably what’s helped me a lot too, being married and having a couple of kids to forget about golf, away from the course.”
First round leader Tighe still had a share of the lead on the back nine but a double-bogey on the par-four 17th after he pulled an eight iron shot into the water hazard left of the green cost him.
“I played good through the middle, sort of lost my swing towards the end, hit two bad shots and got penalised really bad,” he said.
Spieth threatened early but made two late bogeys en route to his 68.
“I feel like I’ve still got the best golf yet to be played – that’s what’s positive,” the defending champion said. “That’s what I’m going with.”
Adam Scott fired a lacklustre 73 to be two over, nine shots off the lead, but the 2009 champion wasn’t ruling himself out, saying he felt good and that “two rounds in the mid-60s” could still be enough.
The second round cut was made at 4-over the card with 65 professionals and four amateurs making the weekend rounds.
The third round of the Emirates Australian Open will tee off at 7.19am with the lead group of Matthew Jones and Todd Sinnott on course at 12.45pm.Australian Open Leaderboard