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Jones masters wind to close in on leaders

Brendan Jones's outfit caught the eye, and so did his golf game after the Canberran made a blistering start to his Australian Open campaign at the Lakes on Thursday.

Jones shot a four-under 68 to sit in equal second, two strokes off leader John Senden in his first appearance at the tournament in four years.

The 37-year-old's round was the best of the players to tee off in the afternoon, and has him ideally placed to take advantage of stiller conditions in the second round on Friday morning. Aside from a double bogey on the par-three seventh and a dropped shot on the par-four 16th, Jones mastered the winds on the unforgiving layout to put himself in contention.

''My game was very good today, all of it,'' Jones said. ''I kept the ball in play, if I missed the green I'd get up and down and I putted pretty well. You have to do those things when you shoot a decent score like this.

''Every day here the morning field gets at least a two-shot advantage you would think, and in the morning I feel I can keep the momentum going from today. I hit two bad shots which led to a bogey and a double bogey, apart from that it was pretty good.''

Jones's round was highlighted by 27 putts on the notorious undulating Lakes greens.


The right-hander finished third on the Japan Tour money list, but enjoyed more success in the first half of his year, including two wins.

''My form's been pretty good, I just haven't put it all together the second half of the year,'' Jones said.

''The first half of the year was great but the second half, not quite as sharp. But playing in front of family and friends my attitude's been good and my game's been good.''

Jones said patience was the key to his strong start.

''I've played the Lakes many times, but this new layout looks like a different golf course,'' he said.

''I played smart, hit the ball in the right spot and holed a few putts.

''You can't be too aggressive here, you have to shoot away from the flag sticks every now and then and take your pars.''

The remainder of the Canberra contingent have plenty of work to do after failing to fire in the opening round. Damon Welsford (72) is in a tie for 28th, with Matthew Millar (74), Matthew Smith (77) and Chris Campbell (82) further back.