CROMWELL, Conn. — Defending champion Fredrik Jacobson is in a familiar spot at the Travelers Championship.
For the second straight year, Jacobson had a 9-under 131 total for 36 holes, following his opening 65 with a 66 on Friday. And for the second consecutive year, bad weather pushed back the completion of the second round to Saturday.
The Swede wouldn’t mind if history kept repeating itself.
He’s trying to join Phil Mickelson, the 2001 and 2002 winner, as the only players to successfully defend a title at River Highlands.
“Any tournament is tough to win,” Jacobson said. “To win two in a row is probably tougher. But you know, you have the thing going for you that you have some good memories to draw from, so hopefully that allows a little bit to increase your chances.”
Charley Hoffman opened with a par and birdied the next five holes to move within a stroke of the lead before rain suspended play for the day. Nathan Green also was 8 under when the horn blew at 3:19 p.m. He finished nine holes.
“It was a nice five-hole run,” Hoffman said. “Obviously, I wish I probably could have kept it going a little longer, but obviously in a good frame of mind heading into tomorrow.”
It was the second weather delay of the day. The first lasted 70 minutes.
Jacobson played before the rain hit the course. He started on the back nine and followed up two birdies with an eagle on the 13th hole. He hit his second shot 240 yards over the water and onto the green, and made a 40-foot putt on the par 5.
“It’s going to be tough to drive it the way I did the last two rounds last year, where I didn’t miss the fairway,” Jacobson said. “So, I’m not going to chase that. But yeah, probably I have been playing about the same as I did the first couple days of last year.”
Blake Adams had a 64, the best round of the day, to join Stuart Appleby and Roland Thatcher at 7 under. Appleby had a 65, and Thatcher shot a 67.
Adams had five birdies on the back nine.
“I think I finally woke up,” said Adams, who bogeyed the final two in the first round for a 69. “I was just kind of making some silly bogeys all day yesterday and early this morning, and I finally got rid of those silly errors and made some birdies.”
Appleby, who has played 13 tournaments and missed eight cuts this season, had seven birdies in shooting his best round of the year.
“I’m thinking better, I’m getting better,” Appleby said. “I wasn’t hitting it any good and I wasn’t thinking any good and I was just really finding it hard.”
First-round leader David Mathis fell back to 3 under with a 73 that included a double bogey at 16, where he need three putts on the par 3 hole, and a bogey on 17.
Vijay Singh had one of the tougher finishes Friday. He was looking at a 40-foot birdie putt on 18 to finish at 3 under. But he hit that past the hole and then missed a 2 1/2-foot putt for par. He was 1 under, just above the projected cut line.
The threesome of U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Masters champ Bubba Watson and reigning PGA champion Keegan Bradley were a combined 2-under par Friday, after shooting a combined 10 under in the first round. Simpson was 5 under overall after a 69, Bradley 4 under after his second straight 68, and Watson 3 under after a 71.
“Keegan played pretty good, but Bubba and I didn’t play that well, so we weren’t joking as much,” Simpson said. “I’m glad those guys made the cut and hopefully we can all play well tomorrow.”
The second round was set to resume at 7 a.m. Saturday, followed by the third round with players playing in threesomes off both the first and 10th tees.
“This place drains great, it’s an old gravel pit,” said Mark Russell, the PGA Tour’s vice president in charge of rules. “We’ve got a good forecast for tomorrow, so we’ll be in business.”
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