Brendan Jones – file photo courtesy of PGA of Australia

Canberra golfer, Brendan Jones has won fifteen titles in his eighteen years on the Japan Tour but, to date, the most prestigious event in Japanese golf, the Japan Open, has eluded him.

Today, he set about changing that with an opening round of 3 under 68 at the Hoga Golf Club in Fukuoka in southern Japan to lead the event by one.

Jones leads over one of Japan’s rising stars, Rikuya Hoshino, with another four Japanese players at 1 under par, only six players in total breaking par on the demanding Koga Golf Club layout.

Jones has managed to win events such as the Crowns and the Visa Taiheiyo Championship but he has typically had a love hate relationship with national open.

There has been the occasional top ten, in fact he has been 3rd (at this venue 11 years ago) and 4th previously but if he was to become just the third Australian to win the event it would continue what has been a remarkable and yet understated career which has him as the leading foreign career money earner in Japan.

Craig Parry and Paul Sheehan are previous Australian winners and Graham Marsh and Terry Gale have finished runner-up but the significant title continues to remain elusive.

Jones was out in the afternoon field on day one and recorded six birdies and three bogeys in his round and tomorrow gets the chance for an early morning tee time to hopefully increase his lead.

Brad Kennedy and Matthew Griffin are the next best of the Australians but they are six shots from the lead and tied for 33rd.

The surprise of the day was the 5 over par round of one of the event’s pre-tournament favourites, Adam Scott, leaving him tied for 72nd place.