Janzen and Durant Share Lead in Houston

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Lee Janzen and Fred Couples have a lot in common.
 
Both have won The Players Championship. Both have won a major, two in Janzens case.
 
And both want something that Joe Durant already has ' a win in 2001.
 
Neither Janzen nor Couples have won on the PGA Tour since 1998. Durant was in that boat prior to this season. Winless since his maiden triumph at the 98 Advil Western Open, Durant broke through with victory No. 2 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
 
One start later, he claimed No. 3 at the Genuity Championship.
 
Now, hes looking for win No. 4.
 
Durant fired a 5-under-par 67 to tie Janzen for the first-round lead in the Shell Houston Open at the TPC at The Woodlands.
 
Couples is just one back after a first-round 4-under-par 68. Hes tied for third place with Carl Paulson, who tied for third in last weeks WorldCom Classic, and Australian Adam Scott.
 
Defending champion Robert Allenby is in a group just two back after carding a 3-under-par 69.
 
Since recording back-to-back wins, Durant has notched a pair of top-10s, including a tie for 10th at The Players Championship. His lone set back occurred two weeks ago, when he missed the cut for the second time in as many appearances at the Masters Tournament.
 
Thursday, Durant birdied five of his final eight holes en route to laying claim to the top spot. He concluded his round by drilling a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-4 18th.
 
'I putted as well as I putted all year today,' Durant said. 'I hit the ball in play, but I never got it really close a lot of times, but I just made a bunch of putts.
 
'At this time last year if I'd have hit like this, I'd have probably shot over par. But I was able to save some good pars early in the round, and then I made a few putts I wouldn't have made last year.'
 
Like his counterpart, Janzen notched seven birdies to offset a pair of bogeys in the first round.
 
After missing his first three cuts this season, the two-time U.S. Open champion has qualified for weekend play in each of his last seven starts; though hes only earned one top-10.
 
Couples, too, made his way to 5-under after eagling the par-5 15th. The former Houston Cougar All-American bombarded the green in two shots and converted the 15-foot putt.
 
However he bogeyed the par-4 finishing hole to finish at 4-under-par.
 
While Janzen hasnt won since capturing his second Open title in 98, Couples hasnt won since the Memorial Tournament that same year.
 
This season, the 41-year-old has made seven of eight cuts, but has yet to garner a top-20 finish.
 
I just want to get better, but Im not sure how good that can be, said Couples, who hasnt played in more than 19 events in a season since 1992. It would be a miracle to win the way Im playing right now, but anything is possible.
 
Hal Sutton is three shots off the lead after opening in 2-under-par 70. Hes tied with, among others, Billy Mayfair, who lost in a playoff to Jose Coceres at the WorldCom Classic.
 
1998 Houston champion David Duval, making his first start since another frustrating finish at the Masters Tournament, is five off the pace following an even-par 72.
 
Full-field scores from the Shell Houston Open