CROMWELL, Conn. — While the final group was hacking its way around TPC River Highlands in the third round of the Travelers Championship, a few holes ahead Fredrik Jacobson was putting on a little clinic, firing a flawless seven-under 63 . In fact, Jacobson, who found every fairway on Saturday, hasn’t had a bogey in 54 holes. Random, fun trivia! — The last player to win with no bogeys over 72 holes was Lee Trevino at the 1974 Greater New Orleans Open. Charles Howell III is the last golfer to play a 72-hole tournament without a bogey and not win (2010 Greenbrier Classic).
Jacobson dropped a 30-foot bomb on No. 18 to get to six-under and the one-shot lead over Bryce Molder going into Sunday’s final round.
“I’ve really probably from the weekend of last week (at the US Open) and this week I’ve been hitting the ball as good as I ever have,” he said. “I feel great with the driver and I think a week like last week, driving is a premium to hitting a lot of fairways the last couple of days to help me out there and I’ve managed to continue doing that.
Known as the best five-handicapper in the world, Jacobson has been performing pretty consistently this season. He’s made 14 out of 17 cuts, including seven top-25s and two top-tens. Last week at the US Open, Jacobson fired rounds of 74, 69, 66 and 73 to finish in a tie for fourteenth.
Jacobson has won three times on the European Tour, but has yet to capture that maiden victory on the PGA Tour since joining in 2003 — unless you count winning this year’s title as the best ping pong player on tour.
To the best of his memory, he’ll be playing in the final group on Sunday for the first time, and he’s looking forward to the challenge of handling the pressure.
“I think I’ve been kind of within reasonable reach, but been looking forward to getting myself in position to where I can get tested, you know, and put myself in that position,” said Jacobson. “There’s where you want to be as often as possible so you can get more and more comfortable with it.
“It’s great to have an outside shot at things and come from three or four shots back where you’re always looking for that miracle round to make things happen. It can be kind of pressuring because you can’t really afford any mistakes. You’re already starting out chasing, and even if you get a couple early on and you make a mistake, it feels like you gotta chase, and it’s easy to press too hard. It’s kind of nice to go out and get to play and not start off being behind, and go out and test that position — no matter what the outcome is. I think you can draw a lot from the experience.”
Jacobson has been dreaming of winning on the PGA Tour his entire life and half-jokingly pointed out that he’s the only Swede who hasn’t won.
“It would mean a lot to join that group of Swedish winners,” he said. “That would be a lot of fun. That’s why I came over, and I’ve been here for quite a long time now, since ’03. I won a few times in Europe and I came over because I wanted to see if I can win here. That’s always been my goal. That’s the drive for me. I just want to focus on those things that get me to hit good shots and hit good putts and see if we can get it done.”
Jacobson is known for his stellar short game. Question is, can his long game hold up for a fourth round in a row? TBD.
For the record, I’d love to see Freddy win. Anyone who drop-kicks his club in response to a poorly hit shot gets an A in my book. I’ve also always enjoyed watching his demeanor. Looks like the kind of a guy who would be fun to throw a few drinks back with.
(AP Photo/Fred Beckham)