Fashionable Swede makes it look easy

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The Independent Online

Given the chance to confirm himself as one of Europe's most exciting new prospects at the World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, Fredrik Jacobson did not do himself justice, losing 6 and 5 to Chad Campbell in the first round. Yesterday the 29-year-old Swede did show off his talents with an eight-under-par 64 in the first round of the Volvo Masters.

The finale to the European Tour is only open to the leading 60 money winners and 57 of them teed up at Valderrama. One of the most exacting courses at the best of times, yesterday's wind caused the problems. Only 13 players broke the par of 72 and only three were better than 70, the others being Anders Hansen with a 66 and Carlos Rodiles who finished on 68.

Jacobson made it look ridiculously easy. The fashionable cut of his clothes matched that of his hair and his approach play. Time and again he was within a few feet of the hole. When he was not, putts of 30 feet, 20 feet and 25 feet at the 12th, 13th and 14th holes took care of three of his nine birdies.

To be fair to Jacobson he has been showing all season that he is one to watch. He has won twice, established himself in the world's top 50 and finished fifth at the US Open and sixth at the Open.

He is not afraid to go low, but found it difficult to compare the 60 from the first round of the German Masters and his 64 yesterday. "It is not often you have a chance to do something special like a 59," he said. "Today was different. In these conditions on this course, if you were under par it was a very good score." Many were not. Jacobson's playing partner, England's Paul Casey, had a poor start and finished with a 77. Darren Clarke matched that score while Padraig Harrington had a run of three bogeys and a triple on the back nine before he birdied the last two for a 76. The rejuvenated Lee Westwood had a 75.

Colin Montgomerie was only saying on Wednesday how he felt he could still play his best golf when he had sufficient flexibility in his back. He had an eagle at the 11th, playing a three-wood out of a fairway bunker, and birdied the 13th to get to three under but then came home with two bogeys.

Over the closing holes he appeared to be walking gingerly and the back appeared to be playing up again. "It is a bit stiff," he said. "I don't know why it should be but never mind. I'll go and see the physio and see what's what. I was doing well but not to worry."

Hansen was the last man into the event in 60th place on the money list and first out with only a walking scorer for company. He finished in two and a half hours in the best conditions of the day, sunny and calm, did not drop a shot, and was done and dusted for the day more than an hour before anyone else.

VOLVO MASTERS (Valderrama, Sp) First-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 64 F Jacobson (Swe). 66 A Hansen (Den). 68 C Rodiles (Sp). 70 N O'Hern (Aus), J M Olazabal (Sp). 71 S Gallacher, A Cabrera (Arg), J Bickerton, N Fasth (Swe), B Davis, T Bjorn (Den), C Montgomerie, S Garcia (Sp). 72 Peter Lawrie, P Fowler (Aus), B Dredge, A Scott (Aus). 73 D Fichardt (SA), G Owen, J Moseley (Aus), M Gronberg (Swe), E Romero (Arg), J Rose, D Howell. 74 S Hansen (Den), G Murphy, R-J Derksen (Neth), R Karlsson (Swe), K Ferrie, M McNulty (Zim), G Evans, R Jacquelin (Fr), N Faldo, I Poulter. 75 B Lane, S Kjeldsen (Den), P McGinley, M Campbell (NZ), Paul Lawrie, P Price, M A Jimenez (Sp), L Westwood. 76 P Golding, P Harrington. 77 M Lafeber (Neth), P Casey, S Leaney (Aus), D Clarke, T Immelman (SA), R Gonzalez (Arg). 78 N Dougherty, P Hedblom (Swe). 79 I Garrido (Sp). 81 J Donaldson. 82 D Lynn, A Coltart, A Forsyth.