Jacobson falls one shot short of historic round

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The Independent Online

Frederik Jacobson narrowly failed in his bid to create history in the first round of the German Masters.

The Swede needed to birdie the last hole to shoot the first round of 59 on the European Tour, but failed to chip in from 10 yards after missing the green. It meant he had to settle for a 12-under-par 60, the 12th such score in Europe, though only the fifth on a par-72 course.

Despite breaking the course record by two shots, Jacobson was only three clear of Korea's KJ Choi on 63, while Darren Clarke, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Gary Orr and Carlos Rodiles were all round in 65.

In total, Jacobson carded 10 birdies and an eagle - despite failing to birdie one of the four reachable par fives in perfect scoring conditions in Cologne.

Jacobson, who finished fifth in the US Open and sixth in The Open at Royal St George's this year, said: "It was fantastic to have a chance to shoot 60. I have not been that close before.

"To only have to birdie one more hole for a 59 was an awesome feeling. I told my caddie on the last, 'Let's just get a putt for it', but unfortunately I couldn't do it."

Clarke, fresh from two wins in his last three events, is the only man to have shot 60 twice on tour and said: "It was a fantastic effort from Freddie. To shoot 60 is some golf.

"I played okay and could have been three or four under after the first five holes, but I just made five pars which was disappointing. But I tried my best to stay patient and eventually got my rewards."

Patience is a quality which is in short supply for Colin Montgomerie at the moment, however, the Scot arriving in Cologne with his third caddie of the year after dispensing with the services of Steve Rawlinson.

His new recruit, Colin Cotter, fared no better from the moment Montgomerie's second shot of the day came up short of the green and led to a bogey five, the Scot carding a level-par 72 which was only good enough for a share of 87th place.

That was Nick Faldo's score after he double-bogeyed the 18th by finding the water, having also apparently caused a few ripples with the normally placid Bernhard Langer. The German said he would consider giving up the Ryder Cup captaincy if he looked like qualifying to play on the team.

Faldo had criticised him yesterday for potentially leaving his decision too close to September 2004, the Englishman feeling it would be unfair on Langer's replacement.But Langer said after his first-round 70: "Why worry about something that may never happen?"

GERMAN MASTERS (Cologne) Leading early first-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 60 F Jacobson (Swe). 63 K J Choi (SKor) 65 I Poulter, D Clarke, G Orr, P Casey, C Rodiles (Sp). 66 D Gilford, S Webster, A Scott (Aus), D Howell, M Fraser (Aus), B Rumford (Aus). 67 S Lyle, B Dredge, I Woosnam, P McGinley, M A Jimenez (Sp), M Lafeber (Neth), N O'Hern (Aus), M Tunnicliff, J Bickerton, A Wall, D Park. 68 S Hansen (Den), J Spence, J Moseley (Aus), R Karlsson (Swe), R Goosen (SA), R Russell, S Dodd, N Fasth (Swe), R Derksen (Neth), P Hedblom (Swe), M Gronberg (Swe), M McNulty (Zim), P O'Malley (Aus), M Olander (Swe). 69 M Lundberg (Swe), D Fichardt (SA), A Hansen (Den), P Lawrie, C Wi (SKor), H Nystrom (Swe), A Cabrera (Arg), E Canonica (It), J Rose, M Campbell (NZ), E Romero (Arg), P Fowler (Aus), A Oldcorn, G Turner (NZ), J Lomas, R Sterne (SA), I Garbutt.