Sport Golf Aussie Matt Jones shows how to play a windy course to seize lead in PGA Honda Classic

Aussie Matt Jones shows how to play a windy course to seize lead in PGA Honda Classic

Making his shots with the steely focus of a machine, Matt Jones heads for another birdie. Photo: USA Today
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Australian golfer Matt Jones his given his fellow pros a lesson in focus and control by expertly handling blustery wind at the PGA National course in Florida to claim the third-round lead.

Aaron Wise had a six-shot lead during the third round of the Honda Classic but by the end of the day it was Jones sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard.

He shot a 1-under 69 that has the 40-year-old Sydneysider at 10-under and three shots clear of his closest challengers.

“I’m happy to go low with the ball flight and I’m probably a little more conservative when the wind is up,” Jones said.

“I’ll probably play a little safer than normal.

“I’m naturally a very aggressive player but I think in the wind, I have a tendency to manage the golf course differently.”

Riding the wind

Wise, who started the day with a three-shot cushion over playing partner Jones, dropped seven shot over his final 13 holes to be tied for second with J.B. Holmes at 7-under.

Only two of the past seven 54-hole leaders at the Honda – Adam Scott in 2016 and Rickie Fowler in 2017 – have gone on to win. Jones is aiming to make it a threesome.

Jones – a two-time Australian Open champion and winner of the Houston Open in 2014 – is focused on what he can control after his consistent play paid off to sit in the same spot he did after his opening round course record 61.

“Just keep doing what I’m doing,” Jones said, when asked what he needs to do to clinch his second PGA victory.

“Got a long way to go. A lot of holes out here that can get you, but if I keep managing my game, hopefully I’ll have a chance coming down the last nine.”

And if the wind remains strong it could well play into Jones’ hands.

“Playing it in those Australian Opens, where I won two, it was windy, so I’m quite comfortable in the wind…. growing up in Australia we’re used to the wind and hopefully we can just keep managing the game,” he said.

Of the other Australians to make the weekend, Cameron Davis is at 3-under after a round of even-par 70, Scott’s 72 dropped him back to 2-under while Lucas Herbert (70) is a shot further back.

– with AAP