27 Aug 2023 | Professional golf |

Jones one back at St Andrews Bay Championship

by Tony Webeck

Matt Jones tees off during Round 1 of 2022 Australian Open.
Matt Jones is just one stroke off the lead at the Asian Tour's St Andrews Bay Championship in Scotland. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Two-time Australian Open champion Matt Jones is in the hunt to end a two-year win drought at the Asian Tour St Andrews Bay Championship in Scotland.

Jones recovered from a poor start in Round 3 to post 6-under 66 on the Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews, putting him just one stroke behind American Turk Pettit (62, 17-under) with one round to play.

Spaniard David Puig extended his overnight lead to four shots through eight holes of his third round but poor tee shots led to a triple-bogey and two double-bogeys in his final 10 holes.

His round of 1-over 73 saw him drop to outright ninth at 13-under par and four strokes off the lead, Aussies Andrew Dodt and Wade Ormsby among the 14 players within five strokes of Pettit.

Jones is the American’s closest challenger as he chases his first win since victory at the Honda Classic on the PGA TOUR in March 2021.

Although he has just one top-10 finish on the LIV Golf circuit this year, Jones has been top 10 in his two International Series starts on the Asian Tour.

He was tied for seventh in Oman in February and tied for fourth in England last month and is perfectly positioned to finish even higher in Scotland.

The 43-year-old dropped shots at the second and third on Saturday but made three birdies on the trot from the sixth hole, made three in a row again from the 10th and picked up two more at 15 and 18 to play his way into the final group.

“It was just really a couple of bad shots on the second and third hole,” Jones explained.

“After that I just gave myself plenty of birdie chances. I just say my pace has been off pretty much all week. So I’m gonna do some work (on the putting green).”

Unlike Jones, Dodt began his third round in spectacular fashion.

He holed out for eagle at the par-4 first and followed it with birdie at the second to draw within one of the lead.

He countered a bogey at the par-3 fifth with birdies at six and seven to turn in 4-under but was unable to advance his score on the back nine, book-ending birdies at 14 and 15 with bogeys at 13 and 16 for a round of 68 and a share of sixth at 14-under.

Ormsby also produced his fireworks on the front nine on Saturday, making five birdies in a row from the second hole to roar into contention.

Bogeys at eight and 10 saw him cool slightly before a strong finish with birdies at 16 and 17 to end the day within five of the lead.

Victorian Zach Murray improved his position significantly with a round of 5-under 67 as Jack Thompson endured a wildly fluctuating third round of 2-over 74 that featured an eagle, three birdies, four bogeys and a triple-bogey at the par-4 16th.

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