Aussie Matt Jones leads at halfway mark of Open
THE stage would seem set for a thrilling weekend shootout after the cream rose to the top on day two of the Australian Open in Sydney.
Former champion, club member and The Australian Golf Club specialist Matt Jones will take a one-stroke buffer into moving day having surged into the outright lead with a sizzling second six-under-par 65.
Triumphant on his home track in 2015 and runner-up in 2017, Jones leads English world No.14 Paul Casey (65) - the highest-ranked player in the field - and Dimi Papadatos (66) by a shot.
Former British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen headlines five players one shot further back at eight under.
Jones has been a member of the Rosebery golf club since his mid-teens and knows every inch of the Jack Nicklaus-designed course.
The fast-playing Sutherland shire native, who is based in Arizona, says he will draw on that knowledge and his red-hot results in the past two Opens at The Australian.
"I've finished second and first here, so I should feel pretty comfortable," Jones said.
"Knowing where to miss on a golf course is very important to me. I know the types of (chip) shots you need in certain areas if you do miss a green.
"I've got a lot of experience around here and I'm going to have to use that the next two days."
Casey, a winner on the US PGA Tour and European circuit this year, is relishing being in contention yet again.
"(I started the Open) sort of bumbling around, just a couple under par, to challenging for lead, so it's good stuff," he said.
American Cameron Tringale also collected seven birdies in a 65 to be among those at eight under with exciting young Queenslander Shae Wools-Cobb.
Among the big-name Australians, Marc Leishman (67) is well in contention at six under and Cameron Smith (72) has made the cut by one shot despite carding a triple-bogey six at the par-three 11th.
Adam Scott (67) was the biggest shock, the pre-tournament favourite's even-par total handing him his first missed cut at the Australian Open as a professional.
Other big names to miss the cut included Spanish former Masters champion Sergio Garcia (two over), four-time major winner and Presidents Cup skipper of the International team, Ernie Els (seven over).
Seven amateurs made the cut, led by Japan's Takumi Kanaya (eight under), Taiwan's Chun-An Yu and Australia's Lukas Michel (both seven under).