Jones claims share of Phoenix lead

Back-to-back rounds of 65 at the Phoenix Open saw Matt Jones grab a share of the lead with former Masters champion Bubba Watson.

Watson carded a second round 66 on the par-71 TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course which left him and the Australian two shots clear of the field at 12-under-par.

Greg Chalmers and Harris English, who both posted second-round 67s, share third place while Hideki Matsuyama (67), Pat Perez (68) and Kevin Stadler (68) are in a tie for fifth.

As conditions prevented many players from completing their rounds, Jones admitted that he was fortunate to get out before the wind really became a factor.

“We definitely got the good side of the draw going early,” said Jones.

Watson was equally fortunate to complete his round, although he would have been slightly disappointed with the shots he dropped on the seventh and ninth holes.

“Everything is clicking right now,” said Watson who is seeking his first victory since his 2012 Masters triumph.

“I played really well last week, just didn’t make the putts. This time I’m playing well and some of the putts are dropping,” Watson said as he reflected on the seven birdies he made on the day.

No less than 10 players had to complete their first rounds on Friday morning to complete their opening with four players expected to do the same after play was suspended due to bad light.

Meanwhile defending champion Phil Mickelson is eight shots behind the leaders after he returned a 67 which left him tied for 27th.

Leading up to the tournament Mickelson’s title defence was after he withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last week because of back pain.

Mickelson carded a 71 in the first round, but said that rust, rather than his back, was the reason for his less convincing round.

He was far more please with his showing on Friday.

“I didn’t make too many sloppy swings,” said Mickelson.

“My distance control was back on. I don’t know if I’m too far back or not, but on this golf course you can really make some fireworks happen.”