Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, January 25, 1999

H A W A I I _ G O L F

Associated Press
John Jacobs was pumped about his birdie on
the 15th hole at the MasterCard Championship yesterday.

Jacobs feels
like a champ

He wins the MasterCard
Championship wire-to-wire

By Bill Kwon


HUALALAI, Hawaii -- There are some things money can't buy. But for every one on the Senior PGA Tour, there's the MasterCard Championship.

Winning the tournament of champions was simply priceless for John Jacobs, who struggled on some of golf's unbeaten paths to get here. It wasn't just picking up the $185,000 first-place paycheck. It was also knowing that he belonged.

"To win and beat a field like this is pretty special for a guy like me that hasn't won a whole lot," said Jacobs, who shot a final-round 70 to win the MasterCard Championship yesterday by three strokes over Ray Floyd and Jim Colbert at the Hualalai Resort Golf Course.

Jacobs is the tournament's first wire-to-wire winner since Peter Thomson in 1985. He opened with a course-record-tying 64 for a 54-hole total of 203.

One of seven first-time winners on the Senior Tour in 1998, Jacobs admitted that the pressure of leading all the way was a unique experience that had its mental ups and downs.

He never felt sure of victory until he tapped in a little bogey putt on the final hole.

"I had a pretty good idea 5 would be good," said Jacobs, who held a four-stroke lead over Floyd going into the 410-yard finishing hole.

Playing with Jacobs and Dana Quigley in the final threesome, Floyd never got closer than three strokes to Jacobs, a good friend for more than 30 years.

"I just kept missing putt after putt," said Floyd, who had 16 pars and two birdies, both by two-putting. "I made only two putts all day, both for pars. When you do that, it made it easy for John. Nobody made a run at him so that made him comfortable."

Jacobs, who won the Nationwide Championship to qualify for the elite 35-player field that opened the 1999 Senior Tour, knew Floyd was his chief threat.

The two shared the same luxurious condo at the resort with Jacobs' room over that of Floyd's. "I'm keeping my eye on you," Jacobs yelled down to Floyd the night before.

How important was the victory to Jacobs?

"I'm happy to be here. Raymond's a champion," said Jacobs, who played primarily on the Asian Tour. "I don't have a contract (endorsement) with anyone."

When he turned 50 in March of 1995, Jacobs wrote every tournament sponsor for an exemption. He got only one -- from the Kaanapali Classic on Maui. 'They got me for life."

Now, with the Senior Tour's first victory of the season and as the defending champion in next year's MasterCard Championship here again, Jacobs can light up a victory cigar with relish.

Still, since he hasn't been in the victory circle often, Jacobs wasn't taking anything for granted.

It helped, though, that he began the humid and calm Kona-weather day by rolling in a 15-foot birdie putt.

"When I birdied the first hole, hey, that let everybody know I'm not taking a hike ," Jacobs said.

His front nine, however, was anything but a stroll in the park. He had four birdies, three bogeys and two pars.

The birdie at the 205-yard, par-3 fifth was also big, Jacobs said in retrospect. "It really won the tournament for me."

He got a little nervous again after three-putting nine, but a quick bite of a sandwich settled him done. The real big birdie, though, turned out to be the one at the par-4 15th, when he took a four-stroke lead over Floyd for the fourth time during the round.

"I played so safe the last few holes, I was embarrassed. When I birdied 15, it was like I turned into a different player," Jacobs said. "I didn't feel like I was ever losing it. But being in a position to have a lead like this, I didn't know what to do. I didn't know if I should play safe or go for it."

"He played as well as he needed to. It's a tribute to him," said Floyd, who along with Colbert earned $98,375 in sharing second. place.

Floyd and Colbert are staying over on the Kona Coast for the Senior Skins Game next Saturday and Sunday at the Mauna Lani Bay Resort's South Course. They will be joined by Hale Irwin and Arnold Palmer.

NOTES: Gil Morgan, who won with a tournament record 21-under-par 195 last year, finished with a 66 for a 208 total ... Vincent Fernandez posted the day's best round, a 7-under 65 ... MasterCard is the tournament's title sponsor through 2002, with Hualalai hosting the event for an additional five years after that.


Senior MasterCard

At Hualalai, Big Island

Bullet Final round
Par 72

John Jacobs, $185,000 -- 64-69-70--203
Jim Colbert, $98,375 -- 71-68-67--206
Ray Floyd, $98,375 -- 67-69-70--206
Bob Dickson, $67,000 -- 68-70-69--207
Dana Quigley, $67,000 -- 70-68-69--207
Gil Morgan, $46,750 -- 69-73-66--208
Brian Barnes, $46,750 -- 73-68-67--208
J.C.Snead, $37,000 -- 68-71-70--209
Isao Aoki, $37,000 -- 67-72-70--209
Gary Player, $32,000 -- 70-68-72--210
Larry Nelson, $24,683 -- 75-67-69--211
Hugh Baiocchi, $24,683 -- 71-71-69--211
George Archer, $24,683 -- 68-72-71--211
Bud Allin, $24,683 -- 69-71-71--211
Larry Ziegler, $24,683 -- 74-67-70--211
Dave Stockton, $24,683 -- 72-67-72--211
Tom Weiskopf, $19,125 -- 71-73-68--212
Simon Hobday, $19,125 -- 69-72-71--212
Vicente Fernandez, $16,000 -- 74-74-65--213
Jim Dent, $16,000 -- 71-73-69--213
Bob Murphy, $16,000 -- 72-71-70--213
Bruce Summerhays, $16,000 -- 71-70-72--213
Joe Inman, $12,688 -- 68-80-66--214
David Graham, $12,688 -- 73-72-69--214
Lee Trevino, $12,688 -- 71-73-70--214
Hale Irwin, $12,688 -- 68-75-71--214
Leonard Thompson, $11,000 -- 71-74-70--215
Jay Sigel, $11,000 -- 70-73-72--215
Bob Eastwood, $10,000 -- 75-71-70--216
Bruce Crampton, $10,000 -- 71-73-72--216
Graham Marsh, $9,250 -- 74-74-69--217
Dave Eichelberger, $8,750 -- 70-75-73--218
Jim Albus, $8,250 -- 74-75-72--221
Gibby Gilbert, $7,700 -- 74-76-72--222
Hubert Green, $7,700 -- 76-72-74--222

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