Riviera no pain in the neck for charging Jobe

Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:13pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Having spent six months on the sidelines because of a lingering neck injury, Brandt Jobe could not wipe the grin off his face after making a strong start to the Northern Trust Open on Thursday.

The 47-year-old American, who has had two nerve block procedures to help him cope with severe inflammation and a loss of control in his hands, fired a five-under-par 66 at Riviera Country Club to end the opening round two shots off the pace.

Competing in only his second PGA Tour event since the AT&T National last July, journeyman Jobe surged into contention with four consecutive birdies in his last five holes.

"I played a solid round of golf," Jobe told reporters after finishing two strokes behind pacesetting American Matt Kuchar.

"I saw some good things which makes me happy, which is what we are all trying to do. Round one accomplished. Let's see what happens tomorrow. It's a good start to the week."

Jobe, who is playing the PGA Tour on a medical exemption this year due to a herniated disc, accepts he still has a long road ahead of him because of his assorted injury problems.

"The last swing I took (last year) was July 1 at the AT&T, Tiger's event," he said. "I couldn't close my hands. That's how bad it got. I knew there was a problem.

"My disc looked all right, a few degenerative areas, but what was bad was my nerve canal. I was so inflamed. They (doctors) were surprised that it didn't hurt more than what it did.   Continued...

Brandt Jobe of the U.S. tees off on the 18th hole during the second round of the 93rd PGA Championship golf tournament at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia, August 12, 2011. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes