By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Friday felt like Groundhog Day at the Travelers Championship.
After all, Bill Murray played in the celebrity pro-am earlier this week and Fredrik Jacobson is leading again at the halfway mark with the exact same 36-total he had a year ago.
Things worked out pretty well for the Swede then as he went on to win for the first time on the PGA TOUR.
Friday, Jacobson shot a 4-under 66 in scorching conditions with temperatures soaring near 100 degrees at TPC River Highlands.
In his last six rounds here, Jacobson is a combined 29 under with 32 birdies and an eagle.
“It's more the way I'm playing than the course,” Jacobson said. “Last year I really felt like things started to click at the U. S. Open. Similar this time.”
A year ago, Jacobson tied for 14th at the U.S. Open at Congressional. This year, he’s coming off a tie for 15th at The Olympic Club.
“It feels good to have some birdie chances,” Jacobson said. “You play U. S. Open, I like that kind of golf. But you play for four days and you grind it out. It's nice to have a couple of holes where you feel like if you hit the shot you have some good chances to make birdies.”
He made plenty of them in the second round at TPC River Highlands with two birdies in his first three holes. Jacobson followed that with an eagle on the par-5 13th, where he reached the green in two and rolled in a 40-footer.
Jacobson got to as low as 10 under after a birdie on the par-5 sixth but dropped a shot with a three-putt bogey on No. 9, his final hole of the day.
There was a time when Jacobson didn’t exactly like TPC River Highlands, or at least his outcome -- he missed the cut here in 2007 and 2009.
The U.S. Open, however, seems to have sharpened Jacobson’s game.
Now he’ll try to become the first -- and only -- player since Phil Mickelson in 2002 to successfully defend his title in the 60-year history of the Travelers.
“It's easy to start thinking about the finish line already, and I can see that,” Jacobson said. “Any tournament it's tough to win. To win two in a row is probably tougher. But you have the thing going for you that you have some good memories to draw from, so hopefully that increase your chances.”