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
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
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
"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
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.