It’s been 10 years since Brendan Jones claimed the Visa Taiheiyo Masters on the Japan Tour, the 42-year-old a familiar face at the pointy end of the leaderboard at one of the Tour’s most prestigious events.
His 2007 victory was his best result but he has three other top-10 finishes to his name at the Taiheiyo Golf Club where he also led through 36 holes in 2002 before fading at the weekend.
Jones is Australia’s most successful Japan Tour player with 14 victories to his name and while he hasn’t been at his best in 2017 is always considered a potential contender.
He has just two top-10s on his resume so far this year but has missed only three cuts in 16 starts meaning his form is far from poor.
If most recent performance is the measure, however, Matt Griffin will be the leading Australian chance having matched his career best Japan Tour finish last week.
The Victorian’s T5 finish at the PGM Heiwa tournament has ensured his playing status for 2018 and with that pressure removed from the equation he can play with freedom this week.
Griffin and Jones are joined in the field by Brad Kennedy, Michael Hendry, Adam Bland and Kurt Barnes.
Barnes is in need of a good finish to his season as he is well down the money list and in danger of losing his full status for next year.
He currently sits 84th on the standings with only the top-60 retaining full rights and the next 10 limited opportunities.
There are no such issues for New Zealand’s Michael Hendry who is the leading money winner of the group to date this year.
At 17th on the money list Hendry is enjoying yet another fruitful season in Japan and after a top-10 last week looks a chance to contend again.
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