Sydney native Matt Jones shot a 3-under-par 68 Friday to take a three-shot lead midway through the Australian Open. Meanwhile, defending champion Jordan Spieth also posted a 68 to move within four shots of the lead. Here's how things stand after 36 holes in Sydney:
Leaderboard: Matt Jones (-7), Todd Sinnott (-4), Nicolas Colsaerts (-3), Geoff Ogilvy (-3), Aron Price (-3), Jordan Spieth (-3), Lincoln Tighe (-3)
What it means: Jones, 35, leads a parade of Australians at the top of the leaderboard. The only non-Aussies in the top 10 and ties are American Spieth and Belgian Colsaerts. Jones may be better known to Americans than some of the rest of his countrymen, however. He went to Arizona State, plays the PGA Tour (where he won the 2014 Shell Houston Open) and led the PGA Championship after 36 holes this year before fading and finishing T-21.
Round of the day: That would be Colsaerts' 6-under 65. He was 5 under for the round before making his first bogey, at the 17th. He promptly recovered that stroke with a birdie at the 18th.
Best of the rest: Forty-seven-year-old Darren Clarke followed his opening 75 with a 4-under 67 to move to even par, seven shots off the lead. Clarke, the 2011 Open Championship champion, had five birdies and a lone bogey. Spieth's 68 was one of several 3-under rounds on the day. As he was in his opening 71, he was strong on his first nine holes, while on his second nine, not so much. On Friday he made the turn in 3 under after birdies at Nos. 1, 4 and 7. He added another birdie at the par-5 14th, but then bogeyed the 15th and 16th. He reached the par-5 18th in two, but left his eagle putt short before holing the second putt for birdie and 68.
Biggest disappointment: We have to give this 'honor' to first-round leader Lincoln Tighe, who followed his 66 with a 73. He went to the 15th tee of his second round at 2 under for the day, then went bogey-bogey-double bogey. Adam Scott, trying to avoid his first winless year since 2001, also left the course in disappointment after following his even-par opening round with a 2-over 73. His 36-hole total isn't a complete disaster, but he admitted he had no answers on the greens.
Main storyline heading into the weekend: Can Spieth capture the same kind of magic he had here a year ago, when his win propelled him to an epic season and the No. 1 world ranking? Can Scott break out of his funk and lift himself into contention? Or which one of a host of Aussies will defend the home country's honor?
Quote of the day: "I need two good rounds to win this tournament." - Scott