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SYDNEY – Australian Matt Jones birdied his final hole Friday for a 6-under 65 and a one-stroke lead after two rounds on a day of low scoring at the Australian Open.
Jones had a 36-hole total of 10-under 132 at The Australian Golf Club. Paul Casey shot 65 and Dimitrios Papadatos 66 and were tied for second.
”Anytime you get to lead is fantastic,” Jones said. ”It would have been better to be more in front, but I’ll take one in front. Still a long way to go. I’m sure the wind is going to pick up the next two days, which will make it a little tougher.”
American Cameron Tringale, who shot 65, and Louis Oosthuizen had a 66 to be among those two shots behind.
Casey, at No. 14 and the top-ranked player in the field, had seven birdies including four in a row to end his round.
”I’ve not been able to get it close to any flag for about a day and a half and then suddenly the back nine for me, the last half a dozen holes, I had some really good birdie opportunities,” Casey said. ”I don’t know if it was fully in the zone, but it was really nice stuff and it felt really good.”
Adam Scott followed up his opening 75 with a 67 Friday, but still missed the cut.
Scott and Oosthuizen are both on the International team for next week’s Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. Their captain, Ernie Els, may have some extra time to plot his strategy against the American team – Els shot 77 on Friday and missed the cut as well .
”I just didn’t quite swing enough or good enough and so be it. But, it was always going to be tough for me to play well with next week coming up,” Els said. ”Actually even last night, I got some pairings going for the guys and so things are really getting set up now. I’m really focused on next week now, absolutely.”
Friday’s low scoring came after the bushfire-driven haze that blanketed the course on Thursday afternoon cleared significantly for the second round.
The Australian Open is the first qualifier for next year’s Open Championship to be held from July 16-19 at Royal St. George’s. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and ties at the Australian Open who are not already exempt will qualify.