Conservative Jones in PGA mix

Matt Jones and caddie Shannon Wallis have shelved some of their usual aggressive approach and conservatively pushed their way into the mix at the US PGA Championship.

Jones fired a four-under 68 in the opening round to be tied second in the clubhouse after the morning wave, managing his game with a new level of patience.

While the New South Welshman could have attempted to go lower by risking big shots, he chose to respect Whistling Straits a little more on consultation with Wallis and reaped the benefits.

“I didn’t hit it as well as I know I can, but the early birdies got the round going and then I held on down the stretch when I needed to,” Jones said.

“I managed my game better today then I normally would. I’d normally be more aggressive to certain pins, but I managed myself differently and played away from them.

“I didn’t birdie either par five on the back nine and had three iron and two iron into them, so it could have been better, but I’m very happy with this start because we stayed away from trouble almost all day.”

Jones paid tribute to Wallis, a fellow Australian who has caddied for numerous Australian tour pros over the years, as a steadying influence.

“He really kept me in it when it could have gone south a couple of times. That’s why I think he’s one of the best caddies in the world,” Jones said.

“On the 18th, I wanted to hit two iron into the green and he talked me into three wood, and lucky I listened to him as I would have gone in the hazard otherwise.

“So instead of finishing off with a potential bogey, we had a look at three and made a good four to really cap off a solid round.

“Now we just have to keep it going.”

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