Freddie Jacobson opted out of U.S. Open sectional qualifying Monday, instead hoping to play his way to Pinehurst with a high finish this week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. After an opening 67 at TPC Southwind, he's off to a strong start.
Jacobson was slated to participate in the 55-player qualifier in Vero Beach, Fla., on Monday, where four spots to the U.S. Open were up for grabs, but was a late scratch - opening the door for amateur Landon Michelson. After a T-49 finish at the Memorial Tournament, the Swede reportedly did not want to return to Florida for a one-day qualifier, only to turn around and head back to Memphis for this week's PGA Tour stop.
At No. 79 in the OWGR, Jacobson instead put all his hopes into cracking the top 60 in the world rankings by week's end, thereby earning an exemption into the field at Pinehurst. After several withdrawals early in the week diluted the field strength in Memphis, it now looks like Jacobson will need a tie for second or better in order to move into the top 60.
Jacobson made four birdies against just one bogey Thursday, and at 3 under he was among a tie for third, one shot behind leaders Retief Goosen and Troy Merritt, when play was halted because of inclement weather. His best finish of the season came two weeks ago, when he tied for third at the Crowne Plaza Invitational after shooting 67-67 over the weekend at Colonial.
Jacobson has made six career starts at the U.S. Open, including each of the last three years. While he missed the cut last year at Merion, he has three top-15 finishes in the season's second major, including a tie for fifth in his U.S. Open debut at Olympia Fields in 2003.