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Alarm Goes Off for Jacobsen--Again : Golf: He leads by three shots at La Jolla and is poised to win his second tournament in a row.

February 12, 1995|DAN HAFNER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LA JOLLA — Peter Jacobsen continued on a natural high, but the two local favorites, Phil Mickelson and Craig Stadler, found some lows Saturday in the third round of the $1.2-million Buick of California Invitational.

The wind came up at Torrey Pines, and it caused deeper-than-usual rough to become a factor.

Jacobsen, who won last week at Pebble Beach for the first time in almost five years, was four under par on the last six holes on his way to a 68 and a three-shot lead. He is at 201, 15 shots under par.

The rough got to Stadler, who struggled to an even-par 72 and a 54-hole total of 208. Putting, which Mickelson was so proud of Friday, let him down Saturday and he soared to a 75 for a three-round total of 209.

Kirk Triplett--whose 66 equaled the best round of the day--and Hal Sutton are tied for second. Sutton's three-foot putt on 18 lipped out, and he settled for a 68 and 204.

Dan Pohl, Mark Calcavecchia and Mike Hulbert are another shot behind.

Mickelson, who had a huge gallery, went into the round only two strokes behind--the shots he was penalized because he played a wrong ball Friday. He birdied the first hole, and when he hit a sand wedge to within 2 1/2 feet on No. 2, it appeared he was on his way to a big round.

But he pulled the putt and went into a tailspin. He three-putted from 20 feet on No. 3, then missed five-footers for pars on four and five.

Stadler, after driving into the right rough on No. 1, three-putted from 50 feet. After he missed a birdie from about 10 feet on the next hole, he seemed to go into a funk.

Jacobsen has become the hottest thing on the PGA Tour.

"Lot's of guys have won two in a row," Jacobsen said, "so I know it can be done. But a three-shot lead is nothing. Last week I was three behind going into the final round, and I said I had to get off fast in the first six holes. That's what the guys behind me will be saying."

Jacobsen called it a difficult day, citing the wind and pin placements.

"I was just going along until the 13th, when from the fringe, I lifted a nine-iron and it kept rolling right into the cup," he said. "I was just trying to get close. That gave me momentum, and I made an 18-foot birdie on the next hole and a 12-footer on 16 and I was back on my high.

"When things are going like this, it is a wonderful feeling. I can hardly wait for the alarm to go off in the morning. I'm all excited when it's my turn to play. There's hardly anything like it.

"But I've been playing well for almost a year. It's just that I finally put it all together."

Until Jacobsen made the eagle on 13, he was one of seven players tied for the lead at 11 under.

One of those was Hulbert, who may start a new putting trend. He uses only his right hand.

"I was trying the one-hand style just as a practice gimmick," he said. "It worked so well, I have been using it and it's working."

Pohl, who almost faded away Friday when he shot a 74 on the easier North Course, shot a 66.

"The way I putted Friday," he said, "I didn't have much hope for today. But the putts started to drop. Imagine, a 74 on the North followed by a 66 on the tough course."

Two more on the comeback trail, Calcavecchia and Sutton, are in a position to make a run at the top prize.

Sutton, whose last victory was in the Memorial in 1986, won more than $500,000 last year, but he didn't win a tournament.

"I won't feel right until I win again," he said. "I was too cautious last year, but now I have the confidence to win."

Calcavecchia hasn't won in three years.

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