Jones, McNeill in command

Matt Jones and George McNeill were tied for the lead after Thursday’s first round of the Puerto Rico Open.

Australia’s Matt Jones and American George McNeill were tied for the lead after Thursday’s first round of the Puerto Rico Open.

Both posted six-under 66s, ironically the same score as the leaders, Adam Scott and Jason Dufner, did at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Florida.

Jones, a 21-year-old from Sydney, who, after being seen as one of the bright Australia hopes at the start of his rookie season last year, struggled to get anything going, went out on Thurday and eagled the par-five second and mixed five birdies with just one bogey.

“I managed to produced some unbelievable ball striking today,” Jones said afterwards.

“I think I was pin high on every hole except 17, where I actually wanted to be a bit short of it.

“I also made some good putts, had a good eagle on the first to get started and had a great day,” said Jones

“I’ve been making adjustments. My putting was terrible last year and at the start of this year, and I worked hard on it last week and finally figured it out so I feel normal like I did in 2010.

McNeill, a native of Florida, in the meantime, had a flawless, bogey-free round that included six birdies to ensure he kept himself in front and one shot ahead of compatriot Ben Curtis who finished the day alone in third place after shooting a 67.

Another Australian, Gavin Coles, shot a 69 along with Argentine Angel Cabrera in a PGA Tour event staged in the same week as the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Florida to give those who missed out there a chance to pick up a title and some prize money – an alternative not offered by the European Tour this year.

66 George McNeill, Matthew Jones (Aus)
67 Ben Curtis
68 Jeff Overton, Todd Hamilton, Daniel Summerhays, Kevin Kisner
69 Brendon De Jonge, Brian Davis (Eng), Scott Brown, Lee Janzen, Will Claxton, Angel Cabrera (Arg), Gavin Coles (Aus), Graham Delaet (Can), Kevin Stadler, Mathew Goggin (Aus), Roland Thatcher, Shaun Micheel, Roberto Castro