Matt Jones came into the Frys.com Open ranked 123rd on the PGA TOUR's money list. He'll need to stay inside the top 125 through the end of the Fall Series in order to secure his TOUR card for 2012.
With that kind of motivation, maybe it's no surprise that Jones got off to a good start Thursday, shooting an opening 3-under 68 to put himself among the leaders.
After his round, though, the Australian remained cautious. After all, he started last week's event in Las Vegas with a 65 but shot 75 the next day and failed to make the cut at TPC Summerlin.
"If I do what I know I can do, it won't be any problem," Jones said about keeping his TOUR status. "It's just a matter of me putting two rounds and then four rounds together. Last week I got off to a great start and then had a tough second day, so just have to come out here tomorrow and play well and see what happens."
It's been a strange year for Jones. After finishing tied for 19th at THE PLAYERS Championship in May, he ranked 73rd on the money list and seemingly had plenty of momentum with three consecutive top-25 finishes.
But in his 10 starts since then, he's missed nine cuts. His only made cut was a tie for 25th at the Reno-Tahoe Open.
"I've played terrible after THE PLAYERS," Jones said. "I think I missed every cut, maybe made one. And to still be top 125 right now is good, but it also tells you that you shouldn't be in this situation right now either.
"But three weeks left to do well and go from there."