Can Jacobson defend his Travelers title?

By Jason SobelJune 22, 2012, 7:21 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Fredrik Jacobson stood on the ninth green at TPC-River Highlands – his last hole of the day – with only four feet separating him from a second straight score of 5-under 65, likely ensuring a tournament lead heading into the weekend at the Travelers Championship.

The little par attempt was the final cherry on top of a round that appeared easy as pie, one that already included an eagle and four birdies.

He missed it.

Most players would storm off the course in a frenzy, arguing that dinner may taste a bit more bitter after closing in such fashion. Jacobson isn’t most players.

“I think I'll be all right, but you know, obviously you want to finish in style and round it off,” he explained. “I tried my hardest on all of them, and you're going to have some hiccups during 72 holes. Just don't have too many.”

Fact is, Jacobson was still smiling after posting a 66 – and for good reason.

Just five days ago, the 37-year-old from Sweden entered the final round of the U.S. Open solidly in title contention, just two strokes off the lead and playing in the day’s penultimate pairing.

Eighteen holes and 75 strokes later, he was finishing in a share of 15th place – a precipitous tumble down the leaderboard that clinched the worst final-round total of any player in the eventual top-20.

If there’s a moral to the story, though, it’s that making bogey may be a rally-killer, but it is hardly a be-all, end-all to a tournament round.

Even with drastically different conditions at the Travelers than last week’s major championship, Jacobson understands that any bogey is a misstep, but when more birdie opportunities are available there’s always room to get them back.

“I like that kind of golf,” he confided. “But you play for four days and you grind it out. It's nice to have a couple of holes where you feel like if you hit the shot you have some good chance to make some birdies. So you know, I do enjoy that, the week after, to play a course that sets up a little bit more to give us a chance to score.”

And it’s a course on which Jacobson has done plenty of scoring in the past two years.

Last year, he opened 65-66 en route to winning his first career PGA Tour title. This year, he’s opened with the same scores – and is hoping for the same result.

“It's going to be tough to drive it the way I did the last two rounds last year where I didn't miss a fairway,” he said. “So I'm not going to try to chase that. But yeah, probably have been playing about the same as I did the first couple of days last year.”

If Jacobson can close in the same fashion, he can equal the feat of Phil Mickelson, who in 2001-02 became the first and only player to win on back-to-back occasions in the 60-year history of this event.

Asked whether he can do it, Jacobson responded with blunt honesty.

“This is the first time for me, so I mean, I don't know,” he said. “We're only at the halfway mark. You play well for a couple of days, it's easy to start thinking about the finish line already, and I can see that.

“I think a lot of guys come back and probably play well. It's obviously tough to win a tournament – any tournament it's tough to win. To win two in a row is probably tougher. But you know, you have the thing going for you that you have some good memories to draw from, so hopefully that allows a little bit to increase your chances.”

There are indeed plenty of memories flowing this week. Good vibes from his win here last year. And maybe a little hunger brewing from last week’s title contention that ended in disappointment.

In the process, Fredrik Jacobson is making some new memories, too.

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”