RENO - Peter Jacobsen and Scott McCarron are the first round leaders at the Reno-Tahoe Open after shooting a six-under 66 on Thursday at Montreux Golf and Country Club.
Steve Flesch, Jean Van De Velde and Emlyn Aubrey each shot 67 and 17 others are within three shots of the lead as the second round begins today.
Jacobsen is looking for his first PGA tour victory since 1995, when he won the Buick Invitational and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. And if McCarron ends up being the man who keeps him from doing so, Jacobsen can only blame himself.
"Peter has really been the guy that's got me back to where I'm playing," McCarron said. "I'm still going to beat him, though."
The humble Jacobsen just batted a smile at McCarron and went on to say that's the difference between golf and other major sports in the U.S.
"Here, Scott McCarron and I are tied for the lead. I want to beat him, yet if a player asks another player for help, they'll go help," Jacobsen said. "That's a lot of different than the adversarial relationships that exist in the NBA or NFL or professional baseball. Those guys hate each other and that doesn't exist here. That's what nice about the game of golf."
On Thursday, Jacobsen, whose Portland-based management company runs the RTO, hit every fairway and 15 greens in regulation.
"Everything clicked for me today," said Jacobsen, who played with 20-year old Sergio Garcia, the pre-tournament favorite.
But Garcia had an average round as he finished at even par after shooting 2-under on the front nine.
"Sergio got a few bad bounces and he had some really difficult up and downs," Jacobsen said. "I told him that he got a couple of lousy breaks. It will get better tomorrow."
Garcia's response: "Yes it will."
McCarron, whose family is from Reno, has been playing well of late after struggling earlier in the year. Unable to figure out why he was playing bad, McCarron sarcastically said that if he knew the problem, he'd have figured out how to fix it.
"I was trying to make things happen before and right now I'm just really in a good frame of mind," McCarron said. "I'm really getting back to what I was doing before."
Flesch and Van De Velde, who were the co-leaders before Jacobsen and McCarron finished their rounds, were also paired in the same group, which seemed to help them score better.
"I was making birdies when he wasn't and he was making birdies when I wasn't," said Van De Velde. "So it was like the flow was there, and yes, we kind of were pulling each other."
Frenchman Van De Velde became a golf celebrity by default after the 1999 British Open. Leading after three rounds, Van De Velde shot a 77 in the final round, including an avoidable triple bogey on No. 18 to fall into a three-man playoff, which he eventually lost.
"At the end of the day, whether I shoot a 61 or 52 or 82, I don't think the planet earth is going to stop spinning, so you have to get on with it," Van De Velde said when asked about his British Open misfortune.
As for the RTO, Flesch knew his and Van De Velde's leads wouldn't last, which is fine with him.
"By the time we tee it up tomorrow we won't be leading, I promise you that," Flesch said. "It's so early, you're trying to put yourself in position for Sunday," he said.
If Jacobsen, who's recent best finish was second at the B.C. open in 1998, is in contention on Sunday, it won't surprise him a bit.
"I've been working on my game," Jacobsen said. "I've just had a very poor year. I've had no momentum going but this is a feel good week for me. And let's face it, if you feel really good about the place, you're going to play better."