2017 has seen a mixed bag of results for Australia’s most successful Japan Tour player but Brendan Jones will likely feel confident ahead of defending his ANA Open title this week.
Jones’ win here last year was his 14th on the Japan circuit, an impressive feat for the 42-year-old who has been a full member of the Tour since 2001.
Last year’s victory was particularly satisfying for the likeable Canberra golfer after a wrist injury in 2013 which could have proved career threatening.
Jones had surgery on the injured wrist late in the season, never a comfortable decision for a golfer, but after two difficult seasons has steadily rebuilt his game.
He comes to this year’s event off a missed cut last start but his form for most of 2017 has been solid, including two top five finishes in his last four starts.
He will be considered among the favourites when play gets underway Thursday at a tournament featuring seven Australians.
Brad Kennedy returns from a lengthy break caused by a shoulder injury and tees up alongside Matt Griffin, Adam Bland, Aaron Townsend, David Bransdon and another former winner, Kurt Barnes.
Barnes claimed the title in 2011 and finished runner-up in 2012 though his results this season have been less than his best.
Kennedy will be keen to test himself after his long break, his last 72 hole strokeplay event coming in June though he did tee up in last month’s Matchplay tournament.
He was knocked out in the first round there but the nature of that format is not always a reliable guide to a player’s form.
David Bransdon will likely feel confident about his game also after he was the only Australian to make the cut at the Fujisankei Classic two weeks ago.
After making the cut on the number the Victorian veteran played well over the weekend to climb more than 20 places up the leaderboard.
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