Peter Jacobsen had just ended a five-year victory drought and collected his biggest paycheck, but he still felt winning the AT&T; National ProAm was a hollow triumph.
Jacobsen made seven birdies Sunday to overtake playing partner Kenny Perry and win by two strokes with a tournament-record 271. It was his first title since early 1990, and the $252,000 winner’s check represents more than his total prize money in any of the last three years.
But his victory came one day after he and amateur partner Jack Lemmon missed the cut by five strokes in the team competition.
Lemmon has missed the cut for what the actor claims is the past 30 years, and his annual quest to make the final round has become one of the tournament’s most compelling stories.
“Jack, next year we’re making the cut,” Jacobsen said solemnly into a TV mike as he walked up the 18th fairway.
Lemmon joined Jacobsen for the first three holes of Sunday’s round, and Jacobsen birdied all of them. That put him into the lead, and he never relinquished it. Lemmon then drove home to Los Angeles.
“It would have been so much better if I won the tournament with Jack Lemmon with me,” Jacobsen said. “Me winning the tournament is not as important as Lemmon making the cut.”
The duo of pro Bruce Vaughan and amateur Masashi Yamada, a Japanese businessman, won the team competition with a 37-under 251. The team of pro Scott Simpson and comedian Bill Murray, which attracted the loudest crowds and biggest laughs throughout the weekend, was eight strokes back.
Jack Nicklaus, who won the tournament in 1967, 1972 and 1973, finished seven strokes back with 278. He and son Steve were third-best among the pro-am teams with a 33-under 255.
Jacobsen’s final round of 65 left him at 17-under 271. David Duval had a 273 and Perry, who held a three-stroke lead over Jacobsen heading into the final round, tied with Davis Love III at 275.
“I’ve been allergic to the top five the last couple of years,” said Jacobsen, who played despite a pinched nerve in his neck. “I never really questioned whether I would win again.”
Jacobsen broke the tournament record of 273 set by Tom Watson in 1977, but pointed out that had a lot to do with the winter rules in effect this year that allowed players to lift, clean and place balls on the soggy course.
Last year Jacobsen missed the start of the season after cutting two fingers on his right hand while playing with his children. Later in the year he was bothered by pulled rib muscles. He finished 88th on the PGA Tour money list.
In recent years, the Oregonian seemed to be getting as much applause on the golf tour for his band - Jake Trout and the Flounders - as for his play. He sang lead vocals and played harmonica in the band, which also included Payne Stewart.
He also has attracted attention for his work as a television golf commentator and as an impersonator of fellow golfers.
In his two previous tournaments this year, Jacobsen finished tied for 47th in Hawaii and missed the cut in Phoenix.
With a cool mist blowing in from the Pacific Ocean, homeowners along the Pebble Beach course sipped champagne on their patios while watching the final round.
Perry’s three-stroke overnight lead lasted only a few minutes. He bogeyed the first hole and Jacobsen made three straight birdies to open the round, taking the lead for good at 13-under on the third hole.
Jacobsen and Perry birdied the sixth hole, and Jacobsen took control with birdies on the 11th and 12th. By then, Duval and Love were Jacobsen’s closest rivals.
Jacobsen finished his recordbreaking round with a birdie on the 18th.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with story: Leaderboard Final standings and winnings: Individuals Peter Jacobsen, $252,000 271 David Duval, $151,200 273 Kenny Perry, $81,200 275 Davis Love III, $81,200 275 Payne Stewart, $56,000 277 Guy Boros, $46,900 278 Brad Faxon, $46,900 278 Jack Nicklaus, $46,900 278 Pro-Am teams Vaughn-Yamada, $7,000 251 Duval-Norton, $5,800 254 Nicklaus-Nicklaus, $4,900 255 Furyk-Pierson, $4,400 256 Love III-Sullivan, $4,000 257 Crenshaw-Crosby, $3,450 258 Faldo-Lewis, $3,450 258 Morgan-Franz, $2,900 259 Simpson-Murray, $2,900 259