Janzen counts on clues from Open wins

Sitting pretty at 139, two-time U.S. champ sees similarities at Augusta


The Masters

April 10, 1999|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Lee Janzen is going to rely on his success at one particular major championship in approaching the final two rounds of the 63rd Masters.

It's not what Janzen has done here in his seven previous visits to Augusta National, but what he has done as a two-time and reigning U.S. Open champion.

"I think the way the course is set up, it's going to be similar," Janzen said yesterday.

After shooting a 3-under-par 69, Janzen found himself at 5-under 139, three shots behind second-round leader Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain.

Janzen has played solidly, if not quite spectacularly, at the Masters. In 1993, he led after the opening round, but wound up tied for 39th. Two years ago, he was fifth after each of the first two rounds and finished tied for 12th.

"I think the U.S. Open is a little more treacherous," said Janzen, who won at Baltusrol in 1993 and at Olympic last year. "If you're not hitting straight off the tee in the Open, you can bogey every hole out there."

Janzen hadn't been hitting the ball too well recently. But after missing three successive cuts, he abandoned the new clubs he has been playing with and went back to his old ones. They arrived last Saturday when he arrived here for practice.

"The set I have right now, I used all of last year and two months of this year," said Janzen. "I felt very comfortable using the other irons, but I noticed last week I kept sticking the club in the ground a little bit. [Having the old clubs] gave me a little confidence."

Not that Janzen was overconfident. At times in recent Masters, he has tried to go for the big shot, the kind of shot he had watched on television while growing up in Maryland and Florida.

"I haven't tried to hit any heroic shots," said Janzen. "You have to realize that not everybody in the field is hitting those shots. Just one person is doing it. So there's no reason to think you have to hit the same shots."

New low for Langer

Olazabal is not the only former Masters champion looking for repeat success here this week. So is Bernhard Langer of Germany, who won in 1985 and again in 1993.

Yesterday's round of 6-under 66 was the best of the 64 rounds he has played here.

"It felt pretty good," said Langer, 41, whose best finish this year was a second-place tie in the European tour's Heineken Classic. "I've had other scores which felt somewhat similar. But obviously they weren't as low."

Long cured of the case of the "yips" that nearly ended his career prematurely, Langer made a 20-footer on the on the par-4 third hole for birdie and another 20-footer on the par-4 eighth.

Looking to come home

Brandt Jobe is waiting, uh, patiently, for his first major championship. It probably won't come this week, but the former UCLA star and current Japanese tour player is making a significant step toward returning to the PGA Tour.

Jobe, now 33, played the PGA Tour in 1991 and promptly lost his card. He then played in Canada, South Africa and Asia, where he won the Asian tour Order of Merit in 1995. That gave him automatic exemption for the Japanese tour.

Jobe was invited to his first Masters on the basis of his world ranking (38th) and could be on his way to getting another invitation next year. A 1-under par 71 yesterday left him at 1-under par 143.

Pub Date: 4/10/99

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