Jones set to prove himself at home
Canberra's Brendan Jones watches a shot sail down the fairway during the second round of the Australian Open. Photo: Getty Images
Brendan Jones has no doubt he can win the Australian Open, and has declared lifting the Stonehaven Cup on Sunday would vindicate his decision to play in Japan.
The Canberran's decision to play on the unheralded Japan Tour means he is largely anonymous in his home country.
But the 37-year-old wants to prove to the Australian public at The Lakes this weekend he has the game to compete with the best.
Jones putts during the second round of the Australian Open. Photo: Getty Images
Jones (-5) backed up his first round 68 with a 71 heading into Saturday to sit in outright second place, just one stroke behind surprise-packet leader Marcus Fraser.
''I'm not going to be making any bold statements but I'm confident I'll be in contention down the stretch and there's no reason I can be in contention come the last nine on Sunday,'' Jones said.
''If I was to win the Australian Open, it would proudly be the proudest moment of my life, it would be the defining moment of my career.''
Because Japan Tour events often clash with the local schedule, Jones has only played sparingly in Australian in recent years.
He wants to quash any perception people have he chooses to play in Japan because he doesn't have the ability to conquer the more lucrative American and European Tours.
''People just assume because you don't play in America or Europe, your game's not good enough,'' Jones said.
''I know my game is good enough, it's just a career path I've chosen.
''It's nice to get some recognition back home but it's hard to get recognition here when I don't play here much.
''My friends I play golf with here know my game's good, hopefully I've got two more days to show pretty much everyone that follows golf in Australia I can play.''
Jones entered the second round with a golden chance to seize control of the tournament, having posted the best score of the afternoon groups on day one.
He endured a roller-coaster round including five birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey, and didn't putt as well as the opening round.
Teeing off in the last pairing on Saturday, in the country's biggest tournament, is a situation totally foreign to Jones.
But he doesn't believe he'll feel any extra pressure in front of close family and friends.
''I've been very calm and comfortable the last few days, I don't feel any added pressure,'' Jones said.
''I feel my game's good and I'm not getting too far ahead of myself.
''I've made enough birdies to be leading by four or five shots, but I've made a couple of double bogeys, too, which you want to eradicate from your game.''
Matthew Millar (74-71), and Damon Welsford (72-76) are the other Canberrans to make the cut, while Chris Campbell (82-70) and Matthew Smith (77-77) will have the weekend off.