19 Mar 2021 | Professional golf |

Jones hits record mark in Florida

by Martin Blake

Matt Jones Florida image
Another birdie at No. 13 and Matt Jones acknowledges the crowd today. Photo: Getty

Matt Jones conjured a career-best round at the feared PGA National in Florida today to take the lead in the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour. The Australian shot a nine under par 61 with nine birdies and no bogeys, rattling off four consecutive birdies from the second hole and then finishing his day with three straight. Two of those came at Jack Nicklaus' famous Bear Trap stretch of holes, where he putted in from seven metres from the off the edge of the green. It equalled the PGA National course record and beats Jones' previous best of 62 on the PGA tour. He leads by three shots. A 13-year veteran of the tour and twice Australian Open champion, Jones is having one of his best seasons. His only victory is the 2014 Texas Open .

"I struck the ball well actually all day, and it was probably one of the better ball-striking days with my irons that I've had for a long, long time," said the Texas-based Aussie, who left his hometown Sydney in 2008 to attend college in the US and remained there ever since. Jones does not have a great record at PGA National but he did finish fourth in 2008, his rookie season, spending some time in the lead. "Someone sent me a screenshot of that leaderboard yesterday, so it was good to see that," he said. "It's just a difficult golf course. If you're off a little bit you can't get away with it around here. It was good to make birdies and get away with it." He was not the only Australian to start strongly, with Cameron Davis finishing strongly to post a four under par 66 highlighted by an eagle at the par-five 18th.

Cameron Percy and Adam Scott (69) were the next-best of the Aussies.

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