Date: February 20, 2013

Home advantage for Jones at Vic Open

In the world of professional golf, it’s very rare for players to have any sort of normality. Every week brings a tournament in a different city, making living out of a suitcase a common theme among touring pros.

But this week’s Victorian Open at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads, is a chance for Steve Jones to take a break from that lifestyle.

Jones was born and raised in Geelong and is staying at his parent’s place during the tournament, which he hopes will put him in a relaxed frame of mind when he takes to the course in Thursday’s opening round.

“You never get to stay in your own bed for a tournament so it’s great to be able to go home after play, get some home-cooked meals and get a good night’s sleep,” Jones said.

Jones has been a regular visitor to Thirteenth Beach over the years and said it will be good to see some familiar faces around the course over the four days of the tournament.

“I grew up as a member of the Geelong Golf Club and a lot of the members that I knew there have moved down here (Thirteenth Beach),” Jones said.

“So hopefully I’ll have a lot of support this week.

“I do a lot of practice down here when I’m down visiting mum and dad, so I feel right at home here. I love the course and I’m looking forward to the tournament.”

Jones is hoping some familiar scenery will bring about a turnaround in his game after a slow start to the year.

“I feel okay about my game,” Jones, who finished 13th on the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit last year, said.

“The first couple of weeks it was a bit inconsistent but I had a lot of good stuff happen. I just hit too many bad shots and was making too many bogies. So hopefully this week I can try and eliminate some of the bad stuff out of my game because I’m making enough birdies to shoot some good scores.

“The last couple of days I’ve really been fine tuning my short game and trying to get a good feel about my swing to get it around here. The fairways are nice and generous here, which should help.”

Jones has an early start to the opening round, paired with Queensland’s Chris Wood and South Australian Nick Cullen in the second group out on the Beach course off the first tee.

Other big names to hit off in the morning include Australian PGA champion Daniel Popovic, Richard Green, Peter O’Malley, Matthew Griffin and New Zealand’s Gareth Paddison.

The afternoon action includes the likes of Craig Parry, Scott Laycock and the Kiwi trio of Michael Long, Mark Brown and Phil Tataurangi.

Jones said it was fantastic that so many top-quality men and women from Australia and overseas are supporting the concept of playing both tournaments concurrently.

“When you play tournaments on quality golf courses it attracts good players so I hope the locals come out and watch because there’s some world class players here,’’ Jones said.

“I know when I was growing up and playing the amateur events, it was such a thrill to play the Vic Open, play in a pro event.

“There’s a lot of players here that have won worldwide and guys who are starting out, so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top on Sunday.”

The men’s and women’s tournaments both carry prizemoney of $150,000.

For all the up-to-date news regarding the 2013 Vic Open, check Golf Victoria’s website, and follow @VicOpenGolf on Twitter.

By: Bradley Green (Vic Open Freelancer)