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LA QUINTA

Jacobsen, 48, Feels Young Again With a 65

February 02, 2003|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

LA QUINTA -- He's already close enough to the Champions Tour that he can just about start practicing blowing out the 50 candles on his cake. Peter Jacobsen turns 50 in 13 months, which meets the age requirement, but he's already a big part of the Champions Tour, only not as a player.

Jacobsen's event management company runs three Champions Tour tournaments, including the Tradition, the first major of the year. He also co-owns Jacobsen Hardy Golf Design with former pro Jim Hardy.

So if you add it all up, Jacobsen could design a course, run a tournament there and give himself a special invitation to play in it. All he needs is a television company and he'd be all set.

But Saturday, Jacobsen proved he isn't so senior oriented that he can't hold his own on the PGA Tour, at least for a day. He shot a seven-under-par 65 at the Palmer Course at PGA West and is tied for 11th with one round to go.

Jacobsen, 48, joined the tour in 1977 and is playing in his 25th Hope, which means his 21-under score of 267 enabled him to set a tournament record. It was his 22nd year of making the cut at the Hope, one more than Raymond Floyd.

"I suspect Jay Haas feels the same, that the older we get and the closer we get to the Champions Tour, we appreciate what we have a little bit more," Jacobsen said.

The 1990 Hope champion, Jacobsen has won six times, but not since the 1995 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Buick Invitational.

Jacobsen played three off-season events despite an injury to the small finger on his left hand when a piece of graphite broke off and stuck in his finger. When he finally took care of it, he couldn't play for nearly a month.

"I just need to continue to drive the ball well," he said. "I'm putting great."

And then there's next week, at Pebble Beach, where he will play again in a group with Huey Lewis. Jacobsen is a big fan of pro-ams.

"I love it because I'm the best player in the group," he said. "That's an ego boost. Usually, I'm not."

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