Fredrik Jacobson seizes lead
by Lewine Mair.
In practice, Fredrik Jacobson did not see anyone compiling anything like the 11-under tally which has given him the half-way lead in the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan. "What's happened," said the American-based Swede, who followed his opening 67 with a 66, "is that the rain has opened up an opportunity."
Going into the third round, Jacobson is one ahead of Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott and two clear of Keegan Bradley.
The receptive putting surfaces apart, there were other things working in Jacobson's favour...Firstly, he was armed with a new Callaway driver which was delivering almost every drive bang down the middle of the fairway. Secondly, he took to the course having had a good sleep. Last week, when he was playing in this part of the world, he could only sleep in three-hour shifts. For the last few days, in contrast, he has, in the metaphorical sense, been out for the night.
Though the winner of this year's Travelers Championship has yet to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup, he has it in mind to put that situation to rights in 2011. "A few years ago," he explained, "I didn't focus on making the team because my children were small and I had enough on my plate hanging on to my Tour card in America. Now, though, the kids are older and my goal is to give the Ryder Cup a shot. I have watched it often on TV and think it's a great occasion."
He thinks he is already set for all of the 2011 majors and most of the WGC events and plans to get back his European Tour card with a view to collecting Ryder Cup points and catching the eye of Jose Maria Olazabal, the captain.
Oosthuizen's 63, which was as many as nine under, was the low round of the day. The South African hit every green without taking any risks and he holed a few 20-footers. "I'm comfortable on these greens," he warned.
Oosthuizen, like Jacobson, is among the dwindling band of players who have not flirted with a longer putter. Jacobson remains faithful to the short putter he has had for the last four years, while his previous model was in use for 19 years before he announced its retirement. As for Oosthuizen, he once gave the longer model a brief outing but found it ridiculously difficult. "I'm a short-putter man," he stressed.
Scott, of course, sees things differently. Though the Australian will tell you that he has always been a traditionalist, he has gone from strength to strength since he switched to a longer putter, in his case the chest-high version. Where, a year ago, he was around 180th on the putting statistics, he is now up in the 60s.
In summing up his 65, Scott said that he hit seventeen greens "and gave myself 17 birdie chances of which I made nine. Which is, of course, the object of the exercise..."
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