By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Fredrik Jacobson is keeping his fingers crossed.
The bulging disks in his lower back that have sidelined Jacobson for the better part of the last five months aren't bothering him right now. The rest and rehab, ice and exercises appear to have done the trick.
"It's better at the moment, so that's good," Jacobson said. "That's the main thing."
The Swede was feeling even better after firing a 66 at Pebble Beach. The day's low round in relation to par moved Jacobson into a tie at 7 under, one stroke off the pace being set by Brandt Snedeker and Ted Potter Jr. through the first two rounds.
"I guess when you have not played for a while, you play with not really any expectations apart from just really looking forward to get going again and to try to get as many rounds under my belt as possible and as much practice as I can," Jacobson said. " That's really been my only focus this week. ... If I can play some good golf along the way, that's great."
Jacobson did just that on Pebble Beach's scenic back nine, his first of the day, as he closed with four straight birdies and five in a six-hole stretch. He started with a 10-footer at the 13th hole, then buried putts of 6 and 7 feet, 18 inches and 8 feet to shoot 31.
Jacobson has only played once since missing the cut in Las Vegas last October. That's when the pain was at its worst, and the Swede knew it was time to hang things up for awhile.
"Everybody has it after you're playing for 20 years or (so) on TOUR," Jacobson said. " But it's just a matter of whether (the bulging discs) affect you or not. I think you get irritated, it tends to come back; if you can stay fresh and healthy and strong for a while, you can keep it away. I don't think it's anything major at this stage.
"It was just aggravating for a while."
After Jacobson played the Franklin Templeton Shootout in December, the pain returned. He went to Sweden for the holidays and finally returned to the PGA TOUR last week where he shot 2 under but missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"I might have played like six rounds in the last five months or something,," Jacobson said. "It has not been a lot. I've been trying to work on things, I worked on my putting like in the house, and I did that in Sweden indoors. I haven't been able to hit a lot of balls."
So far, so good this week at Pebble Beach, though.
"Nice to be back on TOUR again and to get some rounds under the belt and feel like I'm getting into a rhythm," Jacobson said