5 Things: Jacobson’s breakthrough at Travelers
Five things to take away from the Travelers Championship, where Fredrik Jacobson pulled out a one-shot victory at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.:
1. Promises, promises: Jacobson was watching golf highlights with his children last year when his 5-year-old daughter, Emmie, asked, “Daddy, why don’t you have any trophies at home?” Jacobson is a three-time European Tour winner, but those trophies are back home in Sweden. He promised his daughter that’d he get her a trophy this year.
He made good on that promise at the Travelers Championship, shooting 20-under 260 (65-66-63-66) to win by one shot.
“It’s been haunting me,” he said. “I’ve been asked so many times by the kids, ‘Did you get a trophy this week, Daddy? Did you get a trophy?’ ”
He can finally answer yes. Jacobson played the first 63 holes this week without a bogey. He only made one bogey over four rounds.
2. Just a bit outside: A short miss on No. 18 left Ryan Moore one shot back of Jacobson. Moore hit his approach to the final hole into a bunker, then blasted out to 4 feet. He pushed that putt and finished second for the sixth time in his PGA Tour career. He’s been a runner-up in six of his seven seasons as a pro.
“I guess just no excuses,” Moore said. “Just didn’t hit it where I meant to hit it and missed it.”
Moore now heads to the AT&T National at Aronimink, where he finished second last year. Moore credited his good play this week – he shot 13-under 127 on the weekend – to a slight change in the grips of his clubs. Unbeknownst to him, they were slightly misaligned, causing him to set up with a closed clubface. Moore had his grips re-adjusted after the U.S. Open.
“My swing felt great and I just couldn’t figure out what was going on,” he said.
John Rollins, who matched Moore’s Sunday 63, tied him for second at 19 under par. Rollins birdied the final hole to give himself a chance at victory. He’s finished 6th-25th-2nd in his past three starts, earning more than $795,000 in that span.
“I did all I could,” Rollins said.
3. Quite the turnaround: PGA Tour rookie Michael Thompson shot Sunday’s low round, an 8-under 62, to finish fourth. It was the best finish of his PGA Tour career. He finished in style, knocking approach shots stiff on Nos. 16 and 18. The $288,000 check represents 65.7 percent of his season earnings. He moved from 171st to 119th on the PGA Tour money list with $438,291.
His previous best finish this season was 14th at the Puerto Rico Open.
He had a good history near Hartford, however. His last Travelers start came in 2008, when he competed as an amateur on a sponsor exemption. He was just two shots off the lead through 36 holes before fading to 59th that year.
4. Amateur power: Patrick Cantlay’s historic week ended with a missed 4-foot par putt on No. 18. The bogey gave Cantlay a final-round 70 and left him in a tie for 24th at 11-under 269. The UCLA sophomore had a one-shot lead through 36 holes after rounds of 67-60, but was a combined 2 over on the weekend. Cantlay’s 60 was the lowest round by an amateur in PGA Tour history.
“Just didn’t go as planned,” Cantlay said of the weekend. “And I was actually surprised I was very comfortable out there and very composed and proud of myself for hanging in there.”
The Travelers was Cantlay’s second consecutive top 25 on the PGA Tour. He finished 21st at the U.S. Open to earn low-amateur honors. He’ll be back on Tour this week, having received a sponsor exemption into the AT&T National.
Cantlay was one of four first-team All-Americans in the Travelers field. Bud Cauley also tied for 24th. He played his final eight holes in 6 under par to shoot 30 on TPC River Highlands’ back nine. Cauley made the cut in his pro debut at last week’s U.S. Open (63rd).
Morgan Hoffmann finished 43rd after four consecutive sub-par rounds. Kevin Tway, who had his father, Bob, on the bag, missed the cut.
5. Odds and ends: Defending champion Bubba Watson finished 38th. Watson earned his first PGA Tour victory here last year. He’s won twice this year and is No. 2 on the FedEx Cup points list. The 38th-place finish is his best in five starts since winning the Zurich Classic.
The Travelers Championship was the fifth event in the six-tournament series (The Players, the Memorial, FedEx St. Jude, U.S. Open, Travelers, AT&T National) in which the top two money winners, not previously exempt, earn British Open exemptions. Below are the current money standings through five events, and their position heading into the AT&T National:
- Fredrik Jacobson, $1,260,264
- Harrison Frazar, $1,058,436
- Paul Goydos, $646,000
- Brandt Jobe, $635,735
John Merrick, who Monday-qualified this week, shot a back-nine 30 to finish ninth. He made birdies on four of his final five holes. His top-10 finish guarantees him a start in the John Deere Classic. Merrick is playing with conditional status this season after finishing No. 140 on last year’s money list. He could play his way into the FedEx Cup playoffs, currently ranking 99th. Merrick has the same home course, Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, Calif., as Cantlay.
James Driscoll, who regained his card at Q-School, finished fifth, his second top 10 in his past three starts. Driscoll has earned $409,000 in those three events, compared to $179,215 in his other 10 starts this season.
Kevin Streelman closed with rounds of 63-66 this weekend to tie for sixth. All three of his top-10 finishes this season have come in his past four starts, finishing T-10 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, T-7 at the Memorial Tournament, 67th at the U.S. Open and T-6 at the Travelers Championship.