Right time for Jacobson to find elusive consistency

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The Independent Online

Fredrik Jacobson would not have been an automatic selection to be the only player not to drop a shot during yesterday's first round. Indeed, he might have only featured a couple places above John Daly at the bottom of the list.

But 17 pars and one birdie gave the Swede this remarkable honour in the wilds of Sandwich to send him to the top of the European leaderboard at one under, two shots off the pace.

Jacobson was as stunned as anyone. "I didn't expect that, especially as the wind picked up," he admitted. "I got away without going in the fairway bunkers and scrambled around the greens very well."

Not that the 28-year-old was entirely unfancied for this event. A fifth-place finish at the US Open to go with two victories on the European Tour this season has more than hinted at his undoubted talent. It is just that when Jacobson has performed before it has always been in streaks; eight birdies here, the odd double bogey there. "It is virtually impossible to stop the ball on some of the greens out there and you need to make a lot of ups and downs for par. I did very well on that bit," he said.

The mission now for Jacobson is, of course, to become not only the first Swede to win the Open but the first Scandinavian ever to win a major. Thomas Bjorn is also handily place on two over, but the Dane would have been mortified with that score after a two-shot penalty on the 17th helped him run up a quadruple bogey eight.

Bjorn was then standing at two under par but hit a lob wedge for his third shot into a green side bunker on the penultimate hole. At the first attempt he left the ball in the trap and then proceeded to slam his club into the sand thus incurring his penalty. He then splashed the ball out of the bunker before holing the putt for an eight. Nick Faldo, playing alongside Bjorn, was dumbfounded. "Sure I've seen than happen before, but never in an Open," he said.