Four consecutive sub-par rounds have seen Matt Jones take top Australian honours at the PGA TOUR's Careerbuilder Challenge in his first appearance for 2016.

Matt JonesThe reigning Australian Open champion carded an encouraging 19 birdies and an eagle over the four rounds in California, his eventual 13-under-par total good enough for a T34 result.

Jones was one of nine Australians to tee up this week but one of only three to make the 54-hole cut, the low scoring on the three host courses demanding a 9-under total to be part of the final round.

Only Jones, Aaron Baddeley and Rod Pampling survived, John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy and Marc Leishman all missing by a single stroke.

Jarrod Lyle and Rhein Gibosn both took two shots too many while Robert Allenby faded after a decent start with a third round 81.

Jones' first competitive outing since winning the Stonehaven Cup last November was a success in conditions that meant almost flawless golf was required to contend.

Tournament playoff combatants Jason Dufner and Davd Lingmerth finished 25-under-par for the week with just eight bogies between them over the course of the four rounds, testament to the consistency of play required to contend.

While Jones picked up enough shots to keep up with the leaders the rust in his game showed with too many mistakes, four bogies and two double bogies too much to overcome.

Aaron Baddeley was just a shot behind Jones and is making a good fist of trying to earn back the PGA TOUR card he lost last season.

This was his fifth start since the season began late last year and he has made the cut in all but one, the highlight a T4 in Mexico to have him inside the top 100 on the FedEx Cup standings early in the season.

Having done the hard work of playing his way back to the main tour via last year's Web.com Tour, Rod Pampling needs to perform when his limited opportunities arise.

In two tournaments to end 2015 he missed the cut in one and withdrew from the other so playing all four rounds this week was an important step forward.

His final round performance at the Australian Open, where he carded an incredible 10-under 62 to finish fourth and earn a place at this year's Open Championship, shows he still has enough game to mix it at the top level.

While those that missed the cut will be disappointed not to have played the final round the low scoring meant even good golf wasn't necessarily good enough.

Eight under through 54 holes, as Ogilvy, Leishman and Senden were, could hardly be categorised as poor play despite being one too many this week.

For Ogilvy it was a particularly bitter result as he was inside the cut line with two holes to play but made back to back bogies to miss by one.

Jarrod Lyle will also be frustrated to come so close as the clock is ticking on his major medical exemption. After his aborted return to the TOUR last year he now has just seven events remaining to make $209,000 and earn back his card.