Golf: Jones finds Straits back nine inhospitable

Golf: Jones finds Straits back nine inhospitable
Australian Matt Jones played into a hospitality suite on the par-four ninth.
PHOTO: AFP

KOHLER, United States - Australian Matt Jones made light work of a detour through a PGA Championship hospitality tent on Saturday, but the back nine at Whistling Straits was less welcoming.

Journeyman Jones, who took a two-shot lead over compatriot Jason Day into the third round, was more than holding his own as a first-time leader of a major championship after birdies at the first and sixth holes.

When he played into a hospitality suite on the par-four ninth, he coped with aplomb.

After surveying his ball on the blue outdoor carpet, he opted to play through from the elevated tent floor.

"It was crazy. It was exciting," he said of making the shot with the crowd milling around him. "It was exciting to get up close like that.

"Actually I was happy where the ball was," he added, saying the spot where he would have had to take a drop would have been worse.

His wedge arrowed toward the green, ending up nestled against the edge of the first cut of rough.

"I actually hit it exactly on the line I picked, I picked the wrong line," said Jones, who had to chip on and came away having dropped just one shot.

He took a one-stroke lead over Day into the back nine, but the wheels came off with back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16 followed by a double-bogey at 17.

Now five off the pace, he parred the last from the fringe and was anything but downhearted as he looked ahead to the final round.

"I'm definitely not out of it," Jones said. "Make some birdies tomorrow and (I can) get my name back up there."

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