/ 8 June 2007

Goosen eyes leaders in Memphis

Swede Fredrik Jacobson defied gusting winds to hold a share of the lead with Australia’s Adam Scott in the opening round of the St Jude Championship in Memphis, Tennessee on Thursday.

Jacobson, among the early starters in a strong field at the TPC Southwind, birdied two of his first three holes before completing a three-under-par 67.

World number four Scott joined him at the top of the leaderboard late in the day with a scorecard featuring a double-bogey and an eagle in his first three holes.

Twice US Open champion Retief Goosen and American Brian Gay carded 68s to share third place, one stroke better than two more Americans, Scott Verplank and Duffy Waldorf, and Australian Gavin Coles.

Jacobson, bidding for his first PGA Tour title after joining the circuit in 2003, made the most of his bright start in tough conditions.

”Anybody who shoots under par today will be really happy with where they are and I feel I’m right where I want to be,” the 32-year-old from Gothenburg told reporters after registering five birdies and two bogeys.

Big gust

”It was a tough day and if you had a big gust, a blast of wind, it made it even more difficult.”

Scott, who clinched his fifth PGA Tour title at the Houston Open in April, was also delighted with his score.

”It was a little tricky in the wind but I putted pretty nicely,” the 26-year-old said after covering the back nine in three under. ”I made a few putts from around the 12-feet range and kept my round going.

”My goal here is to get myself in contention and deal with the nerves and pressure of coming down the stretch.

”The more that I’m in contention the better I’ll be served if I get into contention next week at the US Open.”

Fellow Australian Geoff Ogilvy, using the Memphis event as a final tune-up for his title defence next week at Oakmont, left himself with an uphill task to make the cut after struggling to a 78.

Irishman Padraig Harrington and Spaniard Sergio Garcia also have some work to do after opening with 74s. – Reuters