Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Jackson oldest to lead after stroke play
TULSA, Okla. -- Tim Jackson shot a second-round 72 to leave him at even par and earn medalist honors at the U.S. Amateur on Tuesday, even after he was assessed a one-shot penalty for slow play at the conclusion of his round.
The 50-year-old became the oldest player in the history of the tournament to lead after stroke play. The top 64 in the field of 312 move into match play Wednesday at South Hills Country Club, with the 36-hole final set for Sunday.
Jackson's group, which included John Kostis of Paradise Valley, Ariz., and Patrick Duncan Jr. of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., was warned by USGA officials after the fourth hole that it had fallen off the pace. It was given a second warning at the ninth hole and, after it failed to close the gap to the next group by No. 13, was subject to an additional two-shot penalty.
The USGA only assessed the one-shot penalty at the conclusion of the round.
"I'm out here trying to beat the best amateurs in the world," said Jackson, of Germantown, Tenn. "It means an awful lot to me to be the medalist. And then I get a penalty shot for slow play, it's just bizarre. I'm not happy about this at all."
Jackson, a two-time USGA Mid-Amateur champion and the 36-hole leader at this year's U.S. Senior Open, again exhibited solid ball striking and sound course management while being outdriven by more than 30 yards by his younger competitors.
The trio of Ben Martin of Greenwood, S.C., Will Strickler of Gainesville, Fla., and Mark Anderson of Beauford, S.C., finished a stroke behind Jackson.
The tournament will have a strong local flavor in match play with five Oklahoma State players advancing, led by Trent Whitekiller and Kevin Tway. Also advancing were Morgan Hoffmann, Peter Uihlein and Rickie Fowler, who qualified at 7-over despite a 76 at Southern Hills.
After opening with a 2-under 68 at Southern Hills -- the only player in the field to break par there the opening round -- Jackson was cruising at 1-under for his second round at Cedar Ridge Country Club.
After being told he was subject to a penalty, he bogeyed three of his next five holes.
"I was shook up," he said. "I've never been penalized for slow play in my career. I was never in trouble on the front nine and I was trying to encourage the other two to move along."
The USGA requires each group to be within 14 minutes of the group in front. The problem for Jackson's group in trying to catch up was that the previous group had also been warned for slow play and was literally jogging between shots. Even though Jackson's group played at a relatively brisk pace, they were unable to close the gap.
Jeff Hall, the managing director for rules and competitions for the USGA, said the on-course monitor decided that Kostis was the only player from Jackson's group that attempted to speed up and thus avoided the penalty.
That allowed the son of golf instructor and TV analyst Peter Kostis to qualify for a playoff Wednesday morning. He'll be one of 27 players trying for one of four spots in match play.