A move down the California coast hasn’t changed a thing for Fredrik Jacobson.
One week after his best finish in more than a year, Jacobson birdied the two toughest holes at Riviera on his way to a 6-under 65 on Friday and a share of the lead with Sang-Moon Bae going into the weekend at the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles.
The Swede did just about everything well, from his tee shots to his iron play, just what it takes to get around the classic design of Riviera. And it helps to get a little luck, such as a 55-foot birdie putt from just off the green at No. 9 that bumped along until disappearing for an unlikely birdie.
“That was probably the biggest bonus of the day,” Jacobson said.
Bae played in the morning and began with four straight birdies, all of them from tap-in range until holing a 25-foot putt on the 13th. He wound up making birdies on half of his holes in his round of 65.
They were at 9-under 133, one shot clear of John Merrick (66) and John Rollins (65).
Still very much in the picture was Luke Donald, who chipped in twice for birdie and worked his short-game magic around the course for a 66. Playing for the first time in two months, Donald didn’t look as if he had much rust. He was two shots behind.
Lee Westwood birdied the last hole for a 68 to join the group at 6-under 136 that includes a pair of major champions, Charl Schwartzel (67) and Webb Simpson (66).
Phil Mickelson was lurking, despite a sloppy double bogey on the 10th hole. Mickelson still managed a 67 and was five shots back.
“I had a little hiccup on the 10th,” Mickelson said. “I was just trying to make 4 and I couldn’t even do that. But 4 under is not a bad round, with the exception of No. 10. That took a great round and turned it into a pretty good round.”
Twenty players were separated by five shots.
Jacobson has chronic back issues, and he has them under control at the moment.
Since his lone win at the Travelers Championship in the summer of 2011, he has only two top 10s in official PGA Tour events — including his tie for seventh last week at Pebble Beach.
Bernhard Langer holed out from the fairway for an eagle on the par-4 10th and finished with a 10-under 62 on Friday to take a three-stroke in the Champions Tour’s ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla. Langer hit a 9-iron from 141 yards that went right in the cup on the 10th. Bob Tway was second after a 65, and Tom Pernice Jr., Jay Don Blake and John Huston shot 66. … Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva opened a three-stroke lead in the Africa Open on Friday, completing a 10-under 62 in the wind-delayed first round and shooting a 68 in the second. The 41-year-old Da Silva had a 14-under 130 total on the East London, South Africa, course in the event sanctioned by the European and South Africans tours. South Africa’s Jaco Van Zyl was second after a 67, and England’s John Parry was 10 under after a 66. … Mariajo Uribe shot a 6-under 67 on Friday to overtake South Korea’s Jiyai Shin and overnight leader Lydia Ko, claiming a one-stroke lead after the second round of the LPGA Tour’s season-opening Women’s Australian Open in Canberra. The Colombian opened with a birdie after teeing off on the par-4 10th and made four more at Royal Canberra, including at the sixth and seventh as she moved to 15-under 131.