Janzen Mediate Sneak Out Shootout Victory


Lee Janzen is 38 years old now, far removed from that Baby-Faced Assassin moniker that hung with him earlier when he was winning two U.S. Opens.
The baby face still looks young for the man who is reaching his fourth decade, but his skills remain the same. Janzen looped an 8-iron from 157 yards at the 18th green Sunday and the ball came to rest just four feet away. When scramble partner Rocco Mediate dropped the putt seconds later, they had a birdie, a score of 31-under-par, and the championship of the Franklin Templeton Shootout.
Before he hit, I was really hoping he would hit it a foot, said Janzen.
But he did what he was supposed to do ' he hit it up there where I knew we could make par. Then I had a free run at it.
Janzen and Mediate were tied with the red-hot duo of David Gossett and Matt Kuchar as they played 18. Gossett and Kuchar had birdied the 18th moments before to deadlock the tournament, but Janzens arrow turned out the lights on the youngsters.
Mediate had chipped in with his best drive of the week to begin the hole. He hit first on the second shot with a 7-iron, surprising both he and Janzen by knocking the ball through the green. Janzen hit next, having the advantage of just seeing the 7-iron go long, and his 8-iron was perfect.
I just had a feeling he was going to do something great, said Mediate. I knew he was going to put it up there about five feet. It was time.
Janzen and Mediate birdied the first hole to quickly lead by four shots, but they could only shoot 31 on the front side. Gossett and Kuchar had sizzled on the front side, needing only 28 shots to get around. They birdied every hole the front side except the par-3 eighth.
Scoreboards were scarce on the course, and the first time Janzen and Mediate saw one to check their position was on the 12th. Faced with a sudden sense of urgency, they bore down and played well enough to win.
Meanwhile, Mark OMeara and John Cook came out of the pack with four straight birdies beginning at No. 9, and by the time OMeara dropped the putt at No. 12, they had tied the Janzen-Mediate duo.
But then Mediate took over. He stuck one to five feet on the par-3 12th, then dropped the putt for birdie to nudge him and Janzen back ahead by one. And on the next hole, the short 13th, he lobbed a sand wedge from 94 yards up to six feet. He sunk that one, too, and the Janzen-Mediate combo now were looking at a two-shot lead.
The par-5 14th was Janzens hole. He walloped a 3-iron from 268 yards that reached the green after Mediate had laid up. They had to birdie the 14th because OMeara-Cook and Gossett-Kucher had already birdied, creeping back to within one of the lead. But when Janzen-Mediate two-putted for birdie also, it boosted them back ahead by two shots with only four holes left.
Janzen then striped an 8-iron to five feet and sank the putt at 15, another crucial blow after Gossett had nearly holed out in making the birdie at the par-3 16th. That should have been enough ' except that Gossett and Kuchar continued their birdie binge all the way up to the final hole. Gossetts eight-foot bird at 18 tied Janzen and Mediate at 30-under, with Janzen and Mediate still to play the 18th. But Janzens pressure shot at the last was the shot that won it.
The fact that they were teammates at Florida Southern made it even more sweet. That means everything, said Janzen.
It just doesnt happen that often, when you are close friends for such a long time and you win something like this, said Mediate. You may play a bunch of these things, but to win one is really kind of cool.