Date: March 29, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Hot Jones nabs Dominican lead

In-form Sydneysider Matt Jones has leapt to the front of the US PGA Tour’s Corales Championship in the Dominican Republic.

The 2015 Australian Open champion shares the lead of the “opposite field” event – played concurrently with the World Match Play in Texas – with American Joel Dahmen and Ireland’s Paul Dunne.

The trio each compiled rounds of six-under-par 66 at Punta Cana to lead by one from Korean Sungjae Im, with a host of players, including Victorian Aaron Baddeley at four under.

Of the other Aussies in the field, West Australian Curtis Luck continued on from his good run last week in Florida to card an opening 70, good for a share of 24th.

But John Senden (73), Cameron Davis (74) and Robert Allenby (75) all have work to do tomorrow.

Jones, who began the season on limited status after a flat 2018 campaign, has made five consecutive cuts, including two T13 finishes at last week’s Valspar Championship and the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

He has already moved to 111th on the FedEx Cup standings in the chase for the top 125 by season’s end to regain full status for 2020.

The New South Welshman was four under through 10 holes before handing back a shot on the par-four 11th, but rattled home with three birdies in four holes from the 14th to scythe through the field.

Meanwhile, Victorian Ryan Ruffels carded a second-round 75 in Panama to sit outright fourth at the halfway point of the Buenaventura Classic on the Latinamerica Tour.

Ruffels shared the first-round lead at six under with Jared Wolfe, but the American backed up his opening 66 with another fine 68 today to shoot well clear at 10 under.

New South Welshman Harrison Endycott is also prominent after a second-round 71 left him one under in total and in a share of eighth in the tour's season-opening event in Panama.