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Late Match Play gain for Swede Jacobson

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Two days after agonizingly missing out on a spot in next week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Fredrik Jacobson celebrated a late call-up on Tuesday after the withdrawal of Brandt Snedeker.

American world number four Snedeker pulled out of the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event in Arizona because of sore ribs, handing 66th-ranked Jacobson a berth in the 64-player field.

World number 10 Phil Mickelson had already withdrawn, preferring instead to join his family on holiday, to give 65th-ranked Irishman Shane Lowry a place in the draw.

"I'm really happy to be part of it now and get a chance to play a little more golf that week," Jacobson told reporters while preparing for this week's Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club.

"You never know how much golf you get to play, but I know I'm going to get there and play some golf.

"I like it," the 38-year-old said of the matchplay format. "It's always fun. Anything can happen, we know that. It can be a quick exit or you can be there (in the tournament) for a long time."

On Sunday, Jacobson appeared to have the 64th and final Match Play spot secured until American Patrick Reed signed off with a 12-foot birdie putt at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to finish joint seventh with the Swede.

That left Jacobson just 0.0002 points shy of 65th place in this week's world rankings.

"I was just excited about that (tying for seventh)," Jacobson said of his strong finish at Pebble Beach. "I didn't think at all about the Match Play at that point.

"I was just happy to be playing golf and focusing on doing well. I had had a long break, some back issues and to play some golf and get into tournament rhythm ... that was really good."

Jacobson, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2011 Travelers Championship, is well aware that a good performance next week would help him climb higher in the rankings to gain automatic entry to other WGC events.

"We have good fields out here," he said. "There are a lot of points to play for. So any week if you play well or have a really good week, you're going to make a jump.

"I'm excited to come back (to the Match Play) ... in any of these tournaments, the WGCs, the majors, if you're on the bubble for them, you want to get some kind of rhythm where you get to play a lot of them and get accustomed to the courses."

Jacobson has previously competed in the Match Play Championship in 2004, 2005 and last year.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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