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Brilliant finish gives rookie Tyler Duncan Safeway lead

Matt Jones the only Australian to make the weekend in Napa (Photo: Bruce Young)
There was little joy for the four Australians in the early stages of the opening event of the 2017 - 2018 PGA Tour season, the Safeway Open at the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa in California.

Matt Jones, who only last week regained his PGA Tour playing privileges at the Web.Com Tour Championship, is the only Australian to make the weekend, his second round of 68 leaving him in 34th position at 4 under and nine shots from the 36 hole leader and PGA Tour rookie Tyler Duncan.

Jones, who has not recorded a top ten on the PGA Tour in more than two years but has managed to scrape together enough status to keep some level of playing rights during that time, birdied four holes on the way to the turn and then birdie two holes late in the day to complete his round of 68.

The 2015 Australian Open Champion did drop shots at the 7th and 14th holes but overall it was a solid day and he now has opportunity to make progress over the weekend.

Fellow Australians Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers and Monday qualifier Steve Allan have missed the weekend however.

ROUND TWO HIGHLIGHTS

Leader, Duncan, is playing his first PGA Tour event as a cardholder and after a strong opening round and an impressive start to round two he appeared to be losing his way early in the back nine with three consecutive bogeys. But a blistering finish, which included three birdies and an eagle in his last five holes, saw him snatch a late lead off the defending champion Brendan Steele.

Duncan missed out on PGA Tour status via the Web.Com regular season but played his way to the ‘big time’ with a good run through the Web.Com Tour finals and has made a dream start at this higher level despite a golf course which firmed as the afternoon progressed.

Chesson Hadley is another shot back and alone in 3rd position after recording a course record round of 61 to jump 58 places after his opening round of 72.

Hadley raced to the turn in 30 and the possibility of a sub 60 round began to look even more likely when he birdied four of his first six holes on the way in but he missed the green at the 17th then missed the fairway at the last but his brilliant round has him nicely placed.    

Phil Mickelson was one of the pre-tournament favourites but he dropped three places to a share of 15th with his round of 69 and is now seven shots from the lead.

SIGNATURE HOLES LINKS SHELL COVE

 

          

   

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