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Jones leads Aussie charge at Greenbrier

(Photo: Bruce Young)
A scorching back nine has Matt Jones leading the Australian charge at the PGA Tour event in West Virginia as the Sydneysider desperately tries to regain the Tour card he lost in agonising fashion last year.

Jones finished 126th on the 2016 FedEx Cup standings, one spot outside the number required to automatically retain full playing rights.

However, despite limited playing opportunities in 2017, Jones is hovering around the number as the season approaches its conclusion.

A 4-under inward half in the opening round of the Greenbrier Classic has Jones well placed with three rounds to go, his current T13 position projected to move him inside the top 125.

The 2015 Australian Open champion offset three bogeys with three birdies on the front nine before storming to the clubhouse with four birdies for a 66, five shots behind leader Sebastian Munoz.

The Colombian torched the Old White TPC Course at the Greenbrier Resort with 10 birdies and a bogey, his 9-under 61 two better than veteran Davis Love who showed vintage form on his way to a 63.

That was good enough to hold top spot for most of the day, six players a shot further back including defending champion Danny Lee and last week’s 54-hole leader David Lingmerth.

“This is as good a scoring conditions as we're going to get probably for the whole week,” Love said after the round.

“I'm glad I took advantage of it.”

Also pleased with his play was defending champion Lee, who won here in 2015 but missed the opportunity to defend when the tournament was cancelled last year because of devastating floods.

“6-under is a very good start for me,” he said. “But I been playing some good golf last couple months. It's that time of year I need to play good to get into Presidents Cup and stuff.

“I mean, I done it once before here, so that gets me a lot of good confidence for next time we play here.”

Jones is the best of the Australians by three shots, Geoff Ogilvy and Curtis Luck both signing for 1-under 69s to be T43 on a packed leaderboard.

Both Luck and Ogilvy were in the mix last week in Washington, Luck again displaying his tenacity in the opening round in West Virginia after making bogey at his second hole of the day.

Starting on the back nine, the reigning US Amateur champion missed a short par effort at the 11th hole but went on to make two birdies and another bogey before the turn.

A lone birdie and eight pars on the way to the clubhouse has the West Australian mid-field with three rounds to go as he continues to impress in his rookie season as a professional.

Steven Bowditch and Cameron Percy are one shot behind Luck and Ogilvy though, on a packed leaderboard, sit almost 30 places further down the standings at T72.

Greg Chalmers, Brett Drewitt and former champion Stuart Appleby all shot over par and have work to do if they are to make the cut tomorrow.

WEEKEND PINS: 6TH AT NOOSA SPRINGS (QLD)

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Rod Morri
About The Author : Rod Morri

Rod is an award-winning golf journalist with more than 20 years experience and has covered everything from major tournaments to junior golf at the local level. Rod began his life in the media as a daily news reporter for News Limited in Sydney.

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