Germantowns' Tim Jackson Leads U.S. Sr. Open after 2 Rounds - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jarvis Greer

Germantowns' Tim Jackson Leads U.S. Sr. Open after 2 Rounds

CARMEL, Ind. (AP) - Tim Jackson of Germantown came to the U.S. Senior Open

with one goal: Making the cut.

It's time for the 50-year-old amateur to devise a more realistic

objective for the weekend, such as staying ahead of Greg Norman and

the rest of the field.

For the second straight day, Jackson outdid his big-name rivals

at Crooked Stick. He followed his first-round 66, the lowest score

by an amateur in tourney history, with a 5-under 67 on Friday that

would have broken the previous record (68), too. Jackson finished

at 11 under and his two-day total of 133 matched the tournament's

lowest 36-hole score, set by Dave Stockton and Simon Hobday in the

1990s.

The real estate developer from Tennessee, a two-time U.S.

Mid-Amateur champion, led Joey Sindelar (68) by one shot, while

Norman was three strokes back after a 70.

Even Jackson can't believe it.

"You don't expect to come into this tournament with these guys

and say, you know, I want to go win the tournament," he said.

"I've got guys at home saying, 'If you played your game, you can

win.' I'm thinking 'Yeah, right. I can beat Greg Norman."'

Yes, Jackson is playing his game - and he is winning.

Jackson has been the steadiest player on the 7,316-yard par-72

course. He's produced 12 birdies, including a streak of four

straight Thursday and three straight Friday. He consistently

outdrove playing partners Jeff Klein and John Harris, hit greens in

regulation and putted well.

No wonder he has had only one bogey.

Others have not been so fortunate.

Norman stumbled early in the round, but recovered nicely, ending

with two straight birdies to finish at 8 under.

"It was just an awkward day," Norman said. "All in all, I was

very happy. I gave myself a good chance going into the weekend."

Jackson has been almost flawless but not perfect. He hit a tee

shot into a fairway bunker on No. 2 and another at 16, the second

leading to a bogey. He also slid three putts, all birdie chances,

past the lip of the cup.

But Jackson has not faltered. Klein was so impressed with

Jackson's confidence that between the second and third holes, he

pulled 15-year-old caddie Austin Jackson aside to say: "I think

he's convinced he's going to make every putt."

Tim Jackson's son smiled, nodded and then watched his father

reel off birdies at Nos. 11, 12, 13, 15 and 18 - the last setting

off a roar from the crowd that sent autograph-seekers scrambling

into position for a player they didn't even know 24 hours earlier.

Players are surprised, too.

"I don't know him, I don't think. Our minds aren't what they

used to be, but I'm not putting a face to the name," Sindelar

said. "But obviously he can play golf."

Sindelar, one of four players tied for the first-round lead,

started on the back nine and followed his course-record 66 with the

68.

A birdie on the par-3 sixth gave Sindelar a share of the lead,

but he dropped a stroke on the next hole and finished the day by

pulling a 5-foot birdie putt to the left. That that would have tied

Jackson for the lead.

Funk matched Jackson's score of (67) and finished at 9 under.

Funk was the leader after a birdie on the 600-yard, par-5 fifth to

go to 8-under. Jackson then responded with his birdie streak.

Dan Forsman, one of the first-round leaders, eagled No. 9 and

birdied his final hole to go to 7-under. He's fifth.

But everyone's chasing Jackson, who considered joining the

senior tour last year before tearing up the application and

declaring "it wasn't for me."

Apparently, it was.

Now, with his son carrying his bag, his wife following in the

gallery and a performance that is beginning to look a lot like the

one his Memphis-area acquaintance, John Daly, delivered at the 1991

PGA Championship here, Jackson has found a home atop the

leaderboard.

"I know he's capable of winning this golf tournament," Austin

Jackson said. "I think he knows he's capable of winning this

tournament, too. He just doesn't want to get into all of that

yet."

Robin Freeman, who shot a 70 Thursday, made up three strokes by

the turn and finished with a 68 to join Tom Lehman and Bruce

Vaughan at 6 under.

Senior British Open champion Loren Roberts also of Germantown, former PGA

Championship winner Bob Tway and 2007 Senior Open champ Brad Bryant

were in a group at 5 under. Tom Watson and defending champion

Eduardo Romero were 1 under.

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