Jacobsen Joins First-Time Club
By Alex Miceli
Town and Country, Mo. -- Peter Jacobsen joined a list of six others who won the U.S. Senior Open in their first attempt.
Roberto De Vicenzo won the first event in 1980 and Arnold Palmer followed him 1981. Dale Douglass won the 1986 Open followed by Lee Trevino in 1990 and Larry Laoretti in 1992. In 2002 Don Pooley won in a playoff over Tom Watson to earn his first Senior Open victory in his first attempt.
Bellerive Country Club got progressively easier over the three days of the championship. In the opening round the scoring average was 75.187, but in the second round the scores dipped more than a stroke lower to 74.104. In the third round, which took place on Sunday morning, the scores fell again more than a stroke to 72.267. But in the final round on Sunday afternoon the scores moved slightly up, to 72.383.
The most difficult hole over the four days was the converted par-5 10th, which played to a stroke average of 4.499, with only 21 birdies over the four rounds. In the final round the 10th yielded only six birdies. Winner Peter Jacobsen had little problem with the 10th hole, making a birdie in the final round and pars the previous three rounds to go 1 under.
There were only three bogey-free rounds during Sunday's 36 holes. In the morning's third round, Bruce Fleisher (69) and defending champion Bruce Lietzke (70) were the only players to go without a bogey. In the afternoon's final round, Craig Stadler shot a 1-under 70 and was the only player to not make a bogey.
A number of players were under par in the third round, led by Tom Kite's 6-under-par 65. Twenty-five players shot par or better. In the final round, 20 players shot under-par rounds, led by Doug Tewell and D.A. Weibring, both of whom shot 4-under 67s.
Twenty-nine out of 60 shot better in the final round then they did in the third round. Included on that list was winner Peter Jacobsen, who shot a 3-under 68 to with his 2-under 69 in the third round.
The biggest margin from the third to fourth round was Steve Ball, who finished in 59th place. Ball bettered his third-round total by 13 strokes. After shooting an 83 in the third round, Ball shot a 1-under-par 70 in the final round.
Alex Miceli is a free-lance writer whose work has previously appeared on www.ussenioropen.com.