PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Brandt Jobe, who is playing this season on a major medical exemption, owns the clubhouse lead at the Northern Trust Open after shooting a 66.
The 47-year-old Jobe, who suffered from a herniated disc last year, has 10 events in which to earn $303,178 and become fully exempt for the remainder of the 2013 season. Jobe has played in one PGA TOUR event this season, shooting a pair of 74s to miss the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open.
The well-traveled Jobe has won 12 times around the globe -- in Canada, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan, to name a few -- but has never won a PGA TOUR event. He's made 313 previous starts and has four runner-up finishes, most recently at the 2011 Memorial Tournament.
Jobe, who missed the 18th green and bogeyed his final hole, is tied with Matt Kuchar, who has completed 14 holes. Pat Perez and Robert Streb are tied for third at 3 under. He was in the first group off the first tee on Thursday.
"It's obviously very nice," said Jobe, who played at UCLA and estimates he's played several hundred rounds on the legenday course. "Going off first, obviously get the best greens, no one's been on them. It was cold, so the first four or five holes were playing super long and super tough, so it was kind of survival until the sun came out and warmed up a little bit. Not a lot of wind.
"Got real nice and warm. Golf course is in good shape so it was out there to do it if you hit the shots at Riviera."
The group at 2 under includes Fred Couples, Lee Westwood, John Rollins, Stewart Cink, Jimmy Walker, Tim Herron, Lynn David, Michael Block and James Hahn.
BETHESDA, Md. -- What did Brandt Jobe's opening-round 1-under 70 feel like Thursday at the AT&T National?
A lot like the last time a golf tournament was played at Congressional.
"It felt like a U.S. Open round," said Jobe, who is the early clubhouse leader with Daniel Summerhays. "You just feel beat up when you get done."
Jobe had three bogeys, two birdies and an eagle.
Summerhays' round wasn't much different with one more birdie -- five -- than bogeys.
"Actually the conditions were perfect," Summerhays said. "There wasn't much wind, the temperature was fine. It's a very hard golf course, how it's set up. The hole locations are difficult, the greens are super fast. They're firm. The fairways are narrow, and the rough is really long, and the holes are really long, too."
In other words, expect scoring to be potentially higher than it was here a year ago during the U.S. Open when Rory McIlroy won at 16 under and second-place was 8 under.
"If you would have told me 1under before I played, I probably wouldn't have played," Jobe joked. "It's not going to get easier, it's going to get more difficult as the day goes on."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Brandt Jobe has won 12 times around the world but the well-traveled Oklahoma native has never hoisted a trophy as a pro in the United States.
Jobe came close earlier this year when he tied for second at the Memorial Tournament, the fourth runner-up of his TOUR career and his first since 2005. And he's giving himself another golden opportunity at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic this week.
Jobe fired a 67 that included a 32 on the back nine of the Palm Course Friday to move to 8 under and into a tie for sixth. He'll start the weekend just four strokes off the lead held jointly by Justin Leonard and rookie Bio Kim, as a result.
"It was tough," Jobe said. "Trying to figure out how far the wind was going to go with as cool as what it was, it was difficult. Had a hard time getting the ball close, especially early in the round.
"... There was a real heavy dew this morning … and it was just kind of wet and picking up little bit of mud here and there. For the Palm Course, I thought it played pretty tough."
Jobe has battled a litany of injuries over the last few years, most notably those to his left hand suffered when a broom handle broke as he was sweeping his garage. The tip of his left finger and the base of his thumb were severed in the freak accident.
"I don't feel in my left hand and two fingers, so ... I still struggle with that because if I hit my little index finger when I'm putting, it zings," Jobe said. "So imagine having a zinger over a three-footer. It's tough enough, isn't it? But we're getting there. Just got to figure out a good grip. Haven't figured out that part yet."
Nor does he know exactly what he's doing right in a career year that has seen him post four top-10s and top the $1 million mark for the first time.
"If I knew, I would do it every year, right?" Jobe said. "The
last three years have been tough. Just kind of got on a swing that
I thought could work, and I been working actually really hard the
last year and a half trying to get my ball striking down and figure
out how to do it.
"Gone from a big fade to a draw now, which is a huge change visually. And it's been repeating itself. As you know, that's the key out here, is hitting the shots that you believe you can hit, and then doing it. So that adds the confidence."
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
If Las Vegas could have put odds on the first two-putter bag on the PGA TOUR, Phil Mickelson probably would have been the even-money choice. After all, he had carried two drivers before.
That didn’t happen at the Deutsche Bank Championship, as Mickelson completely abandoned his blade for a belly. But there was another player on the fence just enough to carry two flatsticks in competition – Brandt Jobe.
As Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press reported, Jobe played the third round at TPC Boston with his conventional putter and a belly. He had used a belly a few years back but hadn’t quite recaptured the feel enough to fly solo with it, so his other putter came along for the ride just in case.
"I've been hitting it real good and putting so bad that the last month hasn't been fun," said Jobe, who’s moving on to the BMW Championship at No. 63 in FedExCup points. "It was getting to the end of the year and I had nothing to lose, but I didn't want to shoot 80 if it didn't go well."
Of course, there’s a drawback to a bag that’s 14 percent putters. The club that had to come out, a 4-iron, was dearly missed. Jobe said he needed it four times during the round.
NICE PROBLEM TO HAVE: Lucas Glover, a winner earlier this year at the Wells Fargo Championship, made a ball switch at the start of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. He switched from Nike’s new 20XI ball to the older-model One Tour D.
He said he had been hitting shots too far.
Glover missed the cut at The Barclays, but dialing it back proved the right play at the Deutsche Bank, where he finished T21. He’s No. 45 in the FedExCup standings and will make at least one more Playoffs start.
MUSCLE UP: Ryan Moore isn’t one of the TOUR’s long bombers, so he looked to a beefed-up driver for help at TPC Boston. The Adams Speedline 9088 LDA is designed specifically for Long Drivers of America players, and only made in 5-, 6- and 7-degree lofts.
Moore used a 7-degree model with a high-torque UST Mamiya VTS Silver 6 tx shaft, which he said allowed for increased carry distances. He averaged 298.3 yards off the tee, 43rd-best in the 100-player field. For the season on TOUR he ranks 115th in driving distance, at 288.8 yards.
And, oh yeah, he finished T10 in the event, moving up to No. 39 in FedExCup points.
SMART SNEDS: Brandt Snedeker has become a strong candidate to win the FedExCup since switching from an older set of Bridgestone Tour Stage irons to J40 Cavity Back irons.
He started the Playoffs at No. 18 in points, but consecutive T3 finishes in the first two events have moved him to No. 5.
MORE PHIL: Mickelson’s belly putter was the prime topic of conversation at the Deutsche Bank. Golfweek’s James Achenbach shared the backstory of how it actually got in his hands.
Mickelson wanted an Odyssey Sabertooth model similar to Keegan Bradley’s, but the company doesn’t sell any lefthanded models. (Try finding a lefthanded long putter at your local golf shop.)
Fortunately the Sabertooth’s creator is lefthanded and had one in his office, so the putterhead was taken off and customized for Mickelson with a tungsten weight insert. The head came in at 392 grams and the completed putter was 45 1/4 inches long, an inch and a half shorter than Bradley’s.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- It hadn't been Brandt Jobe's week.
The veteran didn't break par in four rounds at TPC Boston, but he got hot when it counted -- making birdie on his final four holes on Monday to likely extend his run in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
Jobe came into the week seemingly safe, ranked 56th in the FedExCup standings with the top 70 advancing to next week's BMW Championship. But he couldn't get anything going and was projected to finish on the outside looking in until his putter got hot on the last four holes.
Jobe's birdie putts came from 13, 9, 31 and 7 feet. When the flurry was over, Jobe was ranked 65th and within the next hour, he had moved to 63rd.
The well-traveled 46-year-old, who has 12 international victories but is still looking to break through on the PGA TOUR, has never qualified for the Playoffs prior to this season.
"For me starting the week at 56 it was more of losing it than it actually would be of gaining it," Jobe said. "I didn't play well this week the whole week. It was a struggle to make the cut and the last two rounds were a struggle, too. So it wasn't a fun week on the golf course. I certainly didn't have any game that I can think of.
"But it was kind of funny. I looked on the board and saw myself at 77th and I said, I don't want to finish 77th. Then I started thinking, well, I wonder where the points are. And then I just said, 'Forget it. Let's just try to malke some birdies coming in." And fortunately I birdied the last four."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- The second round is in full swing -- though the “afternoon” wave won’t tee off for another 90 minutes -- and the leaderboard is crowded with three players -- Webb Simpson, Vaughn Taylor and Brandt Jobe -- tied for the lead at 7 under.
Jobe has very quietly had a nice season with three top-10s, including a runner-up finish at the Memorial tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance two weeks ago.
Simpson’s season has been even better. He has four top-10s, including a pair of runner-up finishes in Tampa and New Orleans, where he lost in a playoff.
Taylor? He’s struggled with four missed cuts in his last five starts. He has just two top-25s all season.,
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Some players in the field had their opening round interrupted by Thursday’s weather and were forced to resume play today. Others, like Vaughn Taylor, never even teed off until Friday.
“Well, I’m rested up,” Taylor said after a first-round 65 Friday.
Taylor didn’t have much time to reminisce about it -- after finishing he went back out about 40 minutes later for his 1:05 p.m. tee time in the second round. Not that a quick turnaround is necessarily a bad thing when you’re playing well.
“You just kind of keep going and hopefully the momentum throughout the day,” he said.
Well, through his first eight holes in the second round Taylor has just one birdie and one bogey. Still, he’s near the lead, now held by Brandt Jobe at 7 under after first-round leader Jim Renner bogeyed his first hole to drop to 6 under.
DUBLIN, Ohio – Rory McIlroy closed with a 62 to make up a four-stroke deficit when he won the Wells Fargo Championship just over a year ago.
Will history repeat itself on Sunday at the Memorial Tournament? McIlroy is making another charge at Muirfield Village right now.
The 22-year-old Northern Irishman has just birdied his fourth straight hole to move to 11 under. Trouble is, Steve Stricker is making birdies, too – and he’s gotten to 15 under with his third in his first five holes.
McIlroy is currently tied for second with Matt Kuchar, who tapped in for his third birdie at No. 6. Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, Brandt Jobe and Jonathan Byrd are tied for fourth at 10 under.
McIlroy’s birdie binge began at the par-5 fifth where he two-putted from 22 feet for birdie. He added 5-footer at No. 6, two-putted from 39 feet at the seventh and made a 20-footer at No. 8.
DUBLIN, Ohio – Steve Stricker started the third round of the Memorial Tournament with a three-stroke lead. And that’s just how he ended it, too.
In between, though, Stricker threatened to run away and hide –– even making a pair of eagles on his first five holes. But the back nine rose up and got in his way with consecutive bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16.
The veteran finished with a 69 for a 12-under total and will play with Jonathan Byrd in Sunday’s final group at 1:25 p.m. Matt Kuchar and Brandt Jobe are tied for third at 8 under while Mark Wilson, Shaun Micheel and Rory McIlroy are another stroke behind.
Muirfield Village was playing firm and fast as the leaders came through on a steamy Saturday afternoon. But about the time the pros were sitting down to dinner the heavens opened up and rain and hail began to pelt Jack Nicklaus’ signature creation.
Depending on how much rain falls, Muirfield Village could play very differently on Sunday. Regardless of whether it’s firm and fast or softer and longer, though, it certainly won’t be easy.
“This course is tough enough that if you've got it going a little bit off it can hurt you,” Kuchar said. “But looks like Strick has got it all, and it's going to take a low number for anybody to knock Steve Stricker tomorrow to have a chance.”
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Matt Kuchar knew he had played some good golf on Saturday. He just wasn't happy with the way he finished off that round of 68.
After all, Kuchar birdied seven of his first 10 holes at Muirfield Village and he looked like he was primed to take it really low. But he hit the wall on the back nine and didn't make another -- and to make matters worse, Kuchar bogeyed two of his last four holes.
So Kuchar will start the final round four strokes off the pace set by Steve Stricker, who also had a difficult finish with back-to-back bogeys at the 15th and 16th holes. Kuchar will tee off in the penultimate group with Brandt Jobe, who is also tied for third at 8 under.
"A little disheartening," Kuchar said. "I was playing some great golf and finally got a chance to look at the leaderboard. Stricker was matching me shot for shot out there. I felt like I really had it going and a little disappointing to drop a couple coming in, but it's a tough golf course. Right now it's playing firm and fast, and just keeping the ball on the greens is a challenge."
Kuchar has finished 10th or better in his last three Memorial appearances but Saturday was the first time he had seen the inside of the interview room. He knows if he wants to get there again on Sunday, he'll have to guard against being overly aggressive like he was on the par-5 16th in the third round.
"Kind of had my maximum distance to get to the front of the green," Kuchar recalled. "It was into the wind off an upslope, and I thought Stricker was far enough ahead of me, ... this is a chance to be aggressive and try to get something.
"But that front pin is so difficult. If you miss the green at all, you just don't really stand a chance at getting that ball up and down. It took me four to get it in the hole from missing the green. It's just a terrible place to be anywhere. You miss the green on any side on that pin, and you just can't get up and down.
"So that was kind of a little bit of a mistake and a bummer."