Australia’s Matt Jones fired a bogey-free nine-below par 61 on Thursday to verify the course narrative at PGA National and expend the lead after the first round of the PGA Honda Traditional.
The 40-year-former from Sydney tied the ticket situation by American Brian Harman within the second round of the 2012 match thanks to birdies on the final three holes on a windy day at Palm Shoreline Gardens, Florida.
“It become as soon as a truly fine day,” Jones acknowledged. “I struck the ball smartly in actuality all day, and it become as soon as doubtlessly regarded as one of the most better ball-striking days with my irons that I’ve had for a long, long time.”
Jones, a two-time Australian Originate champion who captured his solely US PGA Tour title on the 2014 Houston Originate, fired the lowest round in his 14-year US tour career, breaking his prior most efficient of 62 within the 2013 final round at Greensboro.
“I hit it in actuality wisely,” Jones acknowledged. “Strive so to manipulate the ball. It become as soon as windy accessible, and I became with a excellent rating, and then what it is doubtless you’ll well possibly possibly maintain received before you and I become as soon as excellent lucky to get a pair of extra birdies.
“I hit plenty of fine shots, and I made the putts after I hit it shut.”
American citizens Aaron Wise and Russell Henley shared second on 64, three strokes attend, with Aussie Cameron Davis and American citizens Steve Stricker, Kevin Chappell, Joseph Bramlett and Scott Harrington on 66.
World number 83 Jones delivered the final observe opening round for the explanation that match moved to PGA National in 2007, two shots decrease than Rory McIlroy’s former ticket from 2014.
England’s Lee Westwood, coming off attend-to-attend runner-up finishes, opened on 70 thanks to attend-to-attend birdies to halt his round. He become as soon as impressed at how smartly Jones performed.
“That is a tremendous round of golf. Can even very smartly be the round of the year,” Westwood acknowledged.
“(A) 61 round right here when it is flat composed is the final observe of it, however when there is a 15-20 mph wind blowing, greens are like a flash, plenty of sinful winds, that’s a tremendous round of golf.”
Jones, who become as soon as 55th final week on the Players Championship, has two high-10 efforts this season, a share of fourth in November at Bermuda and a share of eighth final month at Riviera.
Jones reeled off four birdies in a row beginning with a 14-foot putt on the par-4 second. He blasted out of a greenside bunker to two toes and tapped in on the par-5 third, then dropped intention shots internal five toes and sank birdie putts on the par-4 fourth and par-3 fifth.
“I in actuality didn’t know I made four in a row till I seen it on the scoreboard on 18,” Jones acknowledged. “I didn’t even take into consideration it. You would possibly possibly not take into consideration that on this golf course because of each hole can chunk you.
“I draw not know at the same time as you happen to ever understand it is special. I become as soon as excellent managing the golf course and hitting fine shots.”
Jones rolled in birdie putts from excellent below 17 toes at 11 and ultimate over six toes at 13, then made a grab par putt from nine toes on the par-4 14th.
He started his closing birdie binge by dropping his intention inches from the cup on the par-4 16th and tapping in, then sank a 23-foot birdie putt from off the inexperienced on the par-3 17th.
“Made a pair of putts, and to get a putt from off the inexperienced on 17 become as soon as fine,” Jones acknowledged.
He closed by driving the inexperienced in two on the par-5 18th and two-placing from 53 toes, knocking within the final from excellent internal five toes.
Australian Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, eagled the 18th, his ninth hole of the day, for his first eagle in 21 rounds at PGA National.
Leading ratings after Thursday’s first round of the PGA Honda
Traditional at PGA National in Palm Shoreline Gardens, Florida (par-70, USA
61 – Matt Jones (AUS)
64 – Aaron Wise, Russell Henley
66 – Scott Harrington, Kevin Chappell, Cameron Davis (AUS), Steve Stricker, Joseph Bramlett
67 – Cameron Tringale, Shane Lowry (IRL), Zach Johnson, CT Pan (TPE), Shuffle Seiffert, Will Gordon
– John Huh, DJ Trahan, Adam Long, Jason Dufner, Nate Lashley, Mackenzie
Hughes (CAN), Price Hubbard, Chris Kirk, Im Sung-jae (KOR), Sepp Straka
(AUT), Harry Higgs, Denny McCarthy