Date: November 21, 2017
Author: Martin Blake

Confident Jones returns to Aus Open

Matthew Jones is back on familiar territory and confident that he can contend in the Emirates Australian Open at The Australian this week.

Jones grew up playing pennant golf for The Australian and is still a member of the club, having won his only national Open here in 2015.

Although the green complexes have been rebuilt since he took his game to America, he still feels good around his home track. “(With) lines off the tee are pretty much the same which makes things comfortable to know where you can miss and where not to miss,’’ he said.

“It’s a very comfortable course for me just to walk on and play. I could do it with my eyes closed off the tee. On the greens it’s a little different now, especially when it blows. I know how heavy the wind blows and how much it can effect the golf ball here.’’

The Sydneysider is hellbent on playing well having secured his playing card for the United States PGA Tour for this season. Jones missed out on defending his title last year because he was battling (and ultimately lost) his playing card in the US. Since then, he played well enough in the secondary Tour finals to get his playing rights back again.

“That (winning) is why I’m here,’’ he said. “It was very disappointing not to be able to play last year and defend my title, but the circumstances I put myself in made me have to make a decision. I made a decision that was very hard to make. Now I’m back here and it’s good to be back here.’’

Having earned his card again, he feels more comfortable. “To play the way I did in 16 and 17 I think was not typical of myself, and then to lose my card but get back to Web finals again was good. I didn’t want to have to rely on sponsor’s exemptions to get my starts on tour this year. Now that I’ve got my full card back again, I can select a schedule and play the courses I want.’’

Jones practised today with world No. 2 Jordan Spieth, with whom he has a great relationship. Spieth is playing for the fourth straight year, having won in 2014 and 2016. “I know he loves it. We might have to give him Australian citizenship soon!’’ said Jones.