Sydney - World number one and defending
champion Jordan Spieth moved to within four shots of the lead at Australian
Open Friday, trailing Sydney-born Matt Jones who took full advantage of his
course knowledge to go top at seven under par.
Spieth battled his way through a
"frustrating" day to record a three under par 68, moving to three
under par overall.
He kick-started his round with a first hole
birdie, managing three other birdies but also back-to-back bogeys at the 15th
"The cross winds again made it a
guessing game out there today, leaving a 50-50 shot and we got less than 50 per
cent of them right," said Spieth.
"It just made it so frustrating as I
was striking the ball well, and it was a round I could have shot six or seven
under par, and I just didn't have any chances."
He added: "I had a lot of shots right
at the pin, like at nine and 10, and in the middle of the round I could have
got something going, but managed to save myself when I got it wrong."
Jones, the winner of the 2014 Shell Houston
Open, took full advantage of his Australian Club course knowledge, also
shooting a 68 to move to seven under par.
Arizona-based Jones, 35, joined the
Australian Club as a 15-year old and named Greg Norman and Tiger Woods as his
inspiration for pursuing the title.
"It's been pretty cool to look at the
black and white photographs of the former champions in the clubhouse and to
have my name on the trophy beside all those great golfers would be
amazing," he said.
Rookie Australian-born pro Todd Sinnott
shot a 70 to move into second place at four under par.
The efforts of Jones and Sinnott also have
them in line to secure one of the three places for next year's Open
Championship at Royal Troon, Scotland.
Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, who is
contesting his first Australian Open, is well positioned to end a
three-and-a-half winless drought, posting the best round of the day, a five
under par 66, to be among five players including former Australian Open winner
Geoff Ogilvy (71) at three under par.
England's Lee Westwood, who played
alongside Spieth and Ogilvy, shot a 72 to be at even par and tied with close
friend and European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke.
Clarke, who brought the gleaming Ryder Cup
trophy to Australia for a first ever visit Down Under, bounced back from a
first round 75 to grab five birdies in a four under par 67.
And hometown favourite Adam Scott failed to
record a single birdie in a score of 73 for a two over par tally, but remains
inside the four over cut off mark.