Notes Jake Makes Ace Els Phil Fall


PINEHURST, N.C. -- Peter Jacobsen knew his shot was good. Then he worried that it might have rolled over the green, like so many other at Pinehurst No. 2.
Not this one. Jacobsen's 7-iron was pure, and the ball plopped right into the hole after a couple of bounces for a hole in one Saturday in the third round of the U.S. Open, the first ace of the championship. More importantly, it was part of a 1-under 69 that put the 51-year-old member of the Champions Tour in a tie for 11th.
Only leader Retief Goosen matched Jacobsen's score.
'If I said I thought I could win, I'd be lying,' Jacobsen said. 'I thought I could make the cut and play well. I've always been a fairly accurate driver, and always been a fairly good iron player. The U.S. Open is right down my alley.'
He hasn't been in an Open since 1996, when he tied for 23rd at Oakland Hills behind winner Steve Jones, so after a victory in the U.S. Senior Open a year ago, Jacobsen was quick to take advantage of the USGA exemption to play at the course where good friend Payne Stewart won in 1999.
Jacobsen has other fond memories of the Open, including a 67 in the final round in 1984 while paired with Tom Watson.
He also won a fictional Open championship in the movie 'Tin Cup,' taking advantage of an implosion on the final hole by Roy McAvoy, the character portrayed by Kevin Costner.
'That's the one I beat Don Johnson and Kevin Costner. That was easy,' Jacobsen said. 'Those guys are like 8 handicaps.'
This is the first time Jacobsen played on the weekend at a major since the 1997 PGA Championship, where he finished tied for 67th. And he has no illusions about what might happen Sunday.
'This may sound crazy, but just being here this week and playing well on Thursday and Friday and having a chance to play on the weekend is very special in itself,' he said. 'So whatever happens, whatever the USGA wanted to serve up, I was ready to take.'
Ernie Els is badly in need of some time off, and he might be willing to miss two of his favorite golf courses to recharge his batteries.
After twice turning potential birdies into double bogeys and shooting a 72 on Saturday, Els said he would skip the Barclays Classic next week at Westchester so he could go home to England. The only other tournament he had planned to play between now and British Open is the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, and he might miss that, too.
'I probably need a good break, come back with a bit of fire,' Els said.
The Big Easy won twice in a row at Westchester. He also is a two-time winner at Loch Lomond, one of his favorite tracks on the European tour.
'I love the Scottish, but we'll see how it goes,' he said.
Els said if he takes three weeks away from tournament golf, he might play some links to get ready for St. Andrews.
As for his round, he managed to get to 2-under despite hitting the ball in the rough. He was primed to make birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 13th with huge drives down the fairway, but wound up with double bogeys.
Nothing was more frustrating than 378-yard 13th, where his drive landed some 30 yards from the green. His sand wedge rolled back down the slope, then a low pitch shot rolled back to his feet. He got the next one to stay on the green about 10 feet away and two-putted for 6.
'It's just brain-dead stuff,' Els said.
Phil Mickelson nearly got the 18 pars he wanted in the third round, finishing with 16. Unfortunately, one of the others was a triple bogey.
He lost his drive out of bounds on the fourth hole - a reachable par-5 that is the easiest hole this week at Pinehurst - and reloaded on the tee. The rest of the hole wasn't much better and he ended up with an 8.
A birdie at the difficult 16th left him with a 72 and an 8-over total of 218.
'I played great,' Mickelson said. 'I drove it the best I have in a long time, and that one hole, it's just one tough hole. The thing is you just can't make any birdies out here or try to make birdies.'
And when he completed his round just as the leaders teed off, Lefty wasn't quite ready to give up have a chance at winning the tournament.
'I understand realistically that might be the case, but the way I look at it is Johnny Miller shot 63 in the Open at Oakmont, and I'm not going to go into tomorrow's round feeling as though I don't have a shot,' Mickelson said. 'I just feel that I can shoot a low score out there, even though I'll have to make 30-, 40-footers to do it.'
Most amateurs would be happy simply to make the cut at the U.S. Open. Yet even as he did that, Matthew Every still couldn't help but think mostly about what might have been.
The rising senior at the University of Florida shot a 3-over 73 in the third round, staying in front of Ryan Moore in the race for low-amateur honors. Every's total of 221 is two shots better than Moore.
The margin could have been greater if Every had gotten the most out of his game in the second round.
'I felt like I played very well, but I tried my best to miss the cut,' he said. 'The first 10 or 11 holes, I struck the ball really as good as I could hit it, and I think I was 4-over par. That's just what Pinehurst is all about.
'I feel like I've done 75 percent of the job this week, but it's just been 25 percent just missing, not holing enough putts and really not hitting enough fairways.'
Moore, the defending U.S. Amateur champ who turns pro next week at Westchester, shot 75 Saturday to match his score from the first round, yet felt he played much better.
'The difference between the first round and this round is leaps and bounds,' he said. 'Unfortunately, the score is the same. Just a few places that got away from me and that's what cost me.'
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - 105th U.S. Open
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open

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