After 36-holes at the 2012 Travelers Championship, being played June 21st to 24th at TPC River Highlands, Fredrik Jacobson is alone in first place. Jacobson is the event's defending champion from 2011. There are three players tied for second, only one shot out of the lead, including Will Claxton, a Tour Rookie seeking his first career win in professional golf.
Early Years: Like many players on the PGA Tour, Will Claxton enjoyed success at the collegiate level. He turned pro in 2006, after playing for four years at Auburn University. Between 2006 and 2010, playing primarily on the eGolf Tour and NGA Hooters Tour, his best finish was a tie for third in 2008.
In 2011 Claxton played in nine events on the Nationwide Tour, where he made the cut four times, had one top 25 finish (tied for 17th at the Mexico Open), and earned $16,000. He finished in a tie for 67th at his first and only PGA Tour event, the Transitions Championship in March. Finishing 10-under par after five rounds at the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, at PGA West in December, he earned his PGA Tour card for the 2012 season.
2012 Season: Will began his rookie campaign with an opening round 4-under par 66 at the Sony Open in January. Following with scores of 69, 69 and 70, he finished the tournament tied for 23rd and earned nearly $50,000. It was a very promising start to his season, but unfortunately he missed the cut in each of his next two events.
Mayakoba: In late February, Claxton again began a tournament with two rounds in the 60s (a 66 and 68) at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. He went on to a ninth place tie, his best finish on the PGA Tour, and earned a paycheck of $99,900. The winner at Mayakoba was John Huh, who is the only rookie to have claimed victory during the 2012 PGA Tour season. Since Mayakoba, Claxton has struggled, missing three cuts and finishing in the top 20 only one time in 12 events played.
Travelers Championship: Will Claxton got off to a great start in the opening round on Thursday, June 21st, with a birdie at the first hole, followed by a solid eagle at the par-4 second. At day's end he had shot a 5-under par 65 and was trailing the tournament leader, defending champion Fredrik Jacobson, by a single shot. His second round was interrupted by a storm on Friday afternoon, meaning a 7:00 a.m. start on Saturday. The storm delay did not cause a problem for Claxton, who played another impressive round posting a 3-under par 67, including his second eagle of the tournament (this time the par-4 15th hole).
Will Claxton enters the third round at the 2012 Travelers Championship only one shot out of the lead. He is tied with two veterans who have each experienced victory on the PGA Tour, J.B. Holmes and Camilo Villegas.
Importance: With a victory, Fredrik Jacobson would be only the second player, after Phil Mickelson, to successfully defend at the Travelers Championship. A win for J.B. Holmes would be a wonderful comeback story for someone who underwent brain surgery less than a year ago. The 30-year-old Colombian, Camilo Villegas, could jump start his career with his first win since 2010.
For Will Claxton, claiming the first victory ever in his professional career would be a life-changing event. The million dollar paycheck would, of course, be a welcome change as well.
Harold Andrews has played golf (competitively and recreationally) for nearly 50 years. He considers Jack Nicklaus the greatest golfer of all time.source:
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- Fredrik Jacobson
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- Travelers Championship