Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson and Irishman Padraig Harrington stepped up their challenges to be fitted for a certain Green Jacket at Augusta National when they fired 67 and 68 respectively to make mighty forward leaps in the 68th Masters Tournament.
Jacobson, who had been six over par after 11 holes on Thursday, equalled the best score of the week, despite a bogey at the last, and his 67 moved him to 215, one under par and into the top ten early in the third round.
Harrington, meanwhile, birdied the last for a 68 to finish the day on level par 216 and not out of contention by any means as the field began to bunch on a gloriously warm, sunny Georgia afternoon.
Jacobson, a three-time winner on The European Tour International Schedule last year, admitted on Thursday that he feared he might not even beat the 85-85 posted by Swedish amateur, Christian Hardin, at the Masters in 1989.
Instead, he birdied four holes in a row during his homeward nine on Thursday and just made the cut with nothing to spare on Friday. Six birdies and a bogey propelled him through the field and he admitted: “It would be nice if I am within four shots of the lead tonight.
“I felt I had a good score in me and I just tried to shoot as low a score as possible – make some smart plays and be conservative when necessary.”
Last season Jacobson was tied fifth in the US Open Championship and tied sixth in the British equivalent in July. He added: “I feel I am starting to give myself a chance in the Majors now”.
Harrington, runner-up in The Players Championship in neighbouring Florida two weeks ago, had five birdies and a bogey in his 68 and said: “It was a good day. I finally managed to make some things happen and was pleased to get one more birdie at the last.
“The first two days were tough but being first out in the third round was a perfect opportunity to score. There is not the same pressure as going out leading.”