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Wind helps Sydney golfer gain advantage

Inclement weather has allowed a Sydney golfer to head to the top of the field in the Australian open.

Matt Jones suffered disappointment last year when missed the cut at his home event, but has more than made up for it in the first few rounds of this year’s event.

The 35-year-old, who is now based in the USA, has played at the host Australian Golf Club since he was 15, and with strong winds blowing across the course he was able to take advantage of the knowledge of the course he has accrued in the past 20 years.

While many famous names struggled in the 100 kilometre winds on course, Jones shot a superb 67 in round one and 68 in slightly calmer but tricky conditions later in the day, putting him into the lead at 7-under.

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His four birdies in six holes on the back nine of his first round proved crucial, with many people struggling to make par on those holes.

He said: “I know the golf course and I’d say the local knowledge of the wind and understanding how heavy it can be from certain areas definitely helped. It’s the sort of course where you might not feel it in some areas but it’ll be blowing across strongly further down the fairway. Luckily I know it’s going to be there.

"It was extremely difficult though – the wind was one and a half, two club wind, but you’ve still got to get it in the hole.”

More than just admitting he had an advantage over his fellow competitors because he knew the winds well, Jones said he actually felt it had helped him play better than he would have in calm conditions.

“If there hadn’t been wind,” he said, “I could have gone out and shot three over today.”

With the weather set to remain squally in Sydney, it isn’t hard to imagine Jones remaining in the box seat into Sunday evening, while spectators may well find themselves rushing to buy cheap golf umbrellas.