Former champion Matt Jones makes strong start to 2019 Australian Open

Happening again?: 2015 champion Matt Jones is in contention after round one of the 2019 Australian Open. Picture: Golf Australia
Happening again?: 2015 champion Matt Jones is in contention after round one of the 2019 Australian Open. Picture: Golf Australia

Matt Jones has surged toward the top of the leader board early in round one at the Australian Open.

Jones, from Oyster Bay, entered the clubhouse at The Australian Golf Club following his opening round on Thursday morning only behind Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya.

The 2015 Australian Open champion shot 67 around his junior course to head a number of players at four-under-par.

Conditions were starting to worsen on Thursday afternoon with winds expected to make life difficult for the afternoon groups that included Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey.

The 39-year-old Jones was delighted with his start.

"To have four-under the first round, it wasn't playing easy out there. Not as tough as I know this course. I've been here for a long time. But I'll take four-under and go and have a nice afternoon," he said.

"I've been a member since I was 15 so I should know the course. It's a little different than when I was first here but I do know the golf course very well.

"If I can improve a couple of things out there on what I did today then it'll be good. But I putted great, if I can just go and work on a few things at the range I'll be good.

"It's been one long year this year so far. It'd be a nice way to cap off this year with a win this week."

Jones has improved his world ranking almost 100 places down to 181 in recent times after a strong season on the US PGA tour where he retained his card and featured in last season's FedEx Cup finals having finished 115th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Jones had two top 10 finishes last season, finishing tied fourth at the Barbasol Championship in July and tied fifth at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May.

Bexley amateur Harrison Crowe was to tee off at 1.25pm in his first round at his maiden Australian Open.

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