By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM
His putter may have still
been asleep for the early parts of Matt Jones’ opening round
at TPC Summerlin but the rest of his game was on from start to
finish. Jones teed off at 7:19 local time and pared his first eight
holes, missing a number of birdie looks including two inside 10
feet, before rolling to a 6-under 65 at TPC Summerlin. That mark
places him in a nine-way tie for second, one shot behind leader
“First nine, score-wise, I hit it unbelievably but
didn’t make a putt on the front nine,” Jones said.
“I hit it the same on the back nine, made a few putts and
ended up with a good score.” Jones was bogey free in his
opening round, only needing to scramble on two holes. One of those
was a highly unlikely par save. The 31-year old Aussie got
up-and-down from 99 yards out (making a 3-foot putt) on the par-4
3rd to stay at even par early in his round. How well was Jones
striking it Thursday? His six birdie putts totaled less than 50
feet in length (around 8 ft. per putt). “I hit it very good
today,” Jones said. “Been working hard with my coach.
Actually went back home to Australia for three weeks and it was
probably the hardest I've worked on my game for a long time. (I)
brought him back over here and it’s starting to pay
off.” Jones has made nine cuts in 21 starts this season with
his best finish a tie for 6th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
He’s missed eight of nine cuts entering the Fall Series.
Jones, a 2007 Nationwide Tour graduate, has the dubious honor of
being the only player to be knocked out of the top 125 on the
TOUR’s money list in two Fall Series (2008, 2009). Entering
this Fall Series at No. 121 this season, he must play well to avoid
the same fate a third time. “It’s not where I want to
be,” he said. “But I have four events to get a win and
then we’ll go from there.”