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March 28, 1998

Lee Janzen


WES SEELEY: 70, 67, 69 - 206, 10-under par for Lee Janzen and he has a 3-stroke lead entering the final round. Some thoughts about the day that started off okay, and, finished better.

LEE JANZEN: I am very pleased with the day. In the last -- I don't know exactly what my track record is playing on Saturdays -- in the last group, last two times, I remember I didn't do very well - PGA last year and Honda a couple of weeks ago. So, I was determined to go out today and at least play better. I didn't have any goals as far as trying to shoot a low score and get a 5-shot lead or 2-shot lead or whatever. I just wanted to gout out and play my best and make sure I had still have a chance to win tomorrow. Certainly in good shape for that.

WES SEELEY: Why don't you take us around.

LEE JANZEN: The second hole, I hit a good drive and 2-iron, pin-high left of the hole about 35 feet and 2-putted. That was bird -- you want me to go through all birdies first?


LEE JANZEN: Third hole, 7-iron on the left fringe, pin-high, I putted down about two feet, missed it. Then I got to the 4th hole, I hit a good drive down the left side with a good angle of the pin; hit a sand wedge eight feet below the hole; made that for birdie. Let's see. Then my next bogey was No. 8, hit 2-iron in the left bunker, and blasted out to about eight feet short of the hole, and missed that putt to the right. Then 9th hole, hit a good drive, laid up with a 4-iron. Then hit a pitching wedge about eight feet, made that for birdie. 14, I hit a good drive, and then a smooth 9-iron to about ten feet short of the hole. And after coming close on 13, I thought it was important to make that one. I didn't want to missed two in a row like that. It is those good opportunities you have to take advantage of when you get them out here. Then the 16th hole I hit a good drive, just rolled into the semi-rough, first cut on the right side of 16 which is actually a good spot to come in from on that hole. You can shoot away from the water more. Then I hit a good 2-iron about 18 feet from the hole and just, you know, couldn't come any closer to making the putt than I did. I don't know what it looked like on TV, but -- I thought it was going to go in if it just got there. And then pars on the last two holes.

WES SEELEY: Questions.

Q. How far did you guess that putt to be on 17?

LEE JANZEN: I'd say about 40 feet.

Q. With all your experience, how comfortable are you playing with the lead like this?

LEE JANZEN: I think it was important today to play well with the lead. Because like I said, I didn't do very well last two times on Saturdays when I had the lead, but I think today will be helpful for tomorrow. I was patient out there. I have been patient all week; more so than I have been probably in a long time. I think that has helped me and my confidence has only gotten better as the week has gone on. I seem to be hitting it better as the week has gone on. Tomorrow I need to start off well. I don't want to get in the mode of scrambling early or having to come back at all. I really need to get off to a good start to help me tomorrow.

Q. Just talk about how meaningful a 3-shot lead on a course like this is.

LEE JANZEN: Well, I guess it is better than being tied. I don't think three shots is enough. I think that -- I don't know what kind of a stroke lead Elkington had last year, but I would have to think only way I would be comfortable is about a 10-shot lead going into the last end. Even then you could be overconfident and lackadaisical. I don't think anybody walking up the 18th hole, no matter how many shot lead they have, isn't nervous.

Q. Your last win here, conditions were similar. It was playing very tough. Was Baltusrol tough and is there an explanation for playing so well on tough courses, tough conditions?

LEE JANZEN: Well, I really enjoy playing the tough courses. I think that -- I enjoy studying course architecture and why they do something and I think that Pete Dye did a great job challenging you to hit great shots on every hole. If you don't, then you are hard-pressed to make birdies and you are certainly challenged to make even pars, sometimes because you can hide the pins out here. If you hit a very good shot, you can get close to the hole. If you don't, you could have a very tough pitch shot or chip shot. I enjoy challenging courses all the way around - off the tee and green - makes you think about some spots you can't get up-and-down on the green.

Q. Baltusrol, the conditions then were tough. Was it demanding? Was it the same type of thing; not hard to make a bogey?

LEE JANZEN: Baltusrol I thought the rough, because it was so hot, the rough was thin enough that you could play it out of the rough. The whole week, I just walked around the course in the practice rounds and picked out which side of the fairway you can enter the green from if you did hit it in the rough. I was fortunate there that I never hit the ball off the tee into a bad spot where I had to lay-up except for the very last hole. But I just was always under the hole and on the right side of the hole that whole week there.

Q. You talk about your confidence going throughout the week. Were you confident when this tournament started?

LEE JANZEN: I felt pretty good about my game and I have been trying to figure out why I haven't been playing better this year. I was in third last group of Phoenix with Tom Watson. He finished second. I didn't do so well. In the Honda, I was in good shape after two days; then didn't do so well. Sometimes those disappointments drive you more to do better. I know that has always helped me in the past. I rather not have a bad tournament to have a good one. But, if we never had bad days, we would never have good days.

Q. Do you lament there not being more tough course events, I mean, 18-unders don't win as many as they used to and who knows this week. But, I mean, we don't get a lot of this. Do you wish we had?

LEE JANZEN: Oh, yeah, I think that I'd like every week to be set up as tough as possible. Dry, and give the us the opportunity to run the ball if that is what you have to do. A lot of weeks they water the courses so much to get them in immaculate shape, that you can't run the ball up on the green at all because it seems to be soft, in most greens, and it stops. Here, you have a chance to run it on the green if you have to.

Q. Conditions this year, how do they compare in difficulty to 1995?

LEE JANZEN: The 18th green was about as hard as I remember the greens being in 1995. I don't think they are quite as hard and baked as they were that year. I think it is more fair this year. Certainly windier that year, but I think they have got the course exactly where they want it. The rough is playable. Greens firm, very fast and you have got to think your way around and pick your spots to hit at the pin and if you do hit at the pin, you have to hit a good shot.

Q. Do you think that is what they want? The winds haven't been bad all week, but is it still difficult; do you think?

LEE JANZEN: It is just tough to challenge you, much like the British Open, the winds are usually pretty strong there. Over the last couple of years there they haven't been, but they still challenge you enough that you have to hit the ball solidly and work the ball both ways. And, I always keep the ball away from trouble.

Q. Will you get a chance to either hit balls tonight before it gets dark when you get out of here? And, if so, will you talk to Rick or do any kind of critiquing with Rick tonight or tomorrow?

LEE JANZEN: If there is any daylight left I will probably hit a few putts. I feel pretty good about the way I am hitting it. And I think that sometimes if you can just visualize your swing without hitting balls, that is as good hitting them; especially if you are close. I don't need to go out and wear myself out anymore. It is tiring to wake up in the morning thinking about playing in the last group all day; then go out and play a four-and-a-half-hour round.

Q. Have you played with Glen Day before?

LEE JANZEN: I have. But I don't remember where. I have played him with practice rounds anyway. We have played basketball together, if that counts.

Q. How is he at basketball and how did you do?

LEE JANZEN: I think we beat him. Rick and I played him and somebody else. I can't remember who.

Q. When was the last time you played in the last group on Sunday?

LEE JANZEN: Last time last group on Sunday? I don't know. Do you know?

WES SEELEY: 1994 Buick Classic.

Q. 1995.

LEE JANZEN: I wasn't in the last group in 1995 when I won here so, I am trying to think if there was a time when I was in the last group in the last couple of years when I didn't win.

Q. Kemper?

LEE JANZEN: I was in the second last group. Davis was in the last group. And, Corey was third to the last group at Kemper. At the International there was a group behind us too. And I can't really remember I would have to think about that one.

Q. Can you talk about today - it looked for a while everybody was really grouping up, nobody was separating themselves on a few -- how you were able to kind of distance yourself there on the back 9?

LEE JANZEN: I did see the scores. Everybody was -- seemed to be right in the same spot and I think that was good that it was like that. I just felt like I had to keep firing at the pins, hitting good shots and doing my best so I could stay close in case anybody did pull away. And, right about the time, I made a couple of birdies, 9 and then 14. I had a chance to make a couple birdies before 14, but right about the time I made that birdie on 14, I looked at the board and saw that the guys had dropped a couple of shots. So, while I was really challenged to go try and get ahead by 1, they dropped back a couple. It was good timing for me.

Q. With the course conditions are how they are and the course seemingly playing a little more difficult each day, would you be surprised if somebody really went lower tomorrow?

LEE JANZEN: I would be. I thought the guys who went out early this morning, they were the ones that had the chance to do it and I don't know if anybody did. What was the lowest score this morning?

Q. 68.

LEE JANZEN: That is the best field you are going to find in golf anywhere and the conditions and the greens are firm, but the temperature and the wind is light. And, I think the conditions are perfect and these are the best players, so, if they were going to shoot a low score, they would have done it this morning. It would be amazing to see somebody shoot a 64 tomorrow. Doesn't mean they won't, but it would be amazing.

Q. Anything besides difficulty of the course that makes you feel comfortable here?

LEE JANZEN: You know, like I said, I like playing difficult courses whether I am leading or not, I just enjoy playing the course like that, and I think any time you have won a tournament, you have good feelings going back there.

Q. A tough course and in tough conditions to make up three strokes. If something like that happens, is it more likely to be your fault rather than somebody going low?

LEE JANZEN: Well, you know, I have a 3-shot lead over this guy behind me; another two shots to the next guy, right? So, if I don't win, no matter what they have done, I would have thought if they could have shot whatever score it was to catch me, I could have shot at least enough to stay ahead of them. So, it could be either way. But, I think that -- I think because the course is tough, that makes it harder on the guys who are in the lead because they have got to go out and play well still. I think if the greens were soft and average speed, you know, I could go out and just fire at the pins, just like everybody else and make my share of birdies. Hopefully, not have enough mistakes. I think I have got to be more exact out there tomorrow. Everybody else does too.

Q. Any shot around the green, a little creative imaginative shot that gave you a particular lift today?

LEE JANZEN: Well, the very first hole I hit it left in the trees, hit a shot, ran up just pin-high to the right. It was this thick rough. Got it up-and-down, probably the worst lie I had all week as far as around the green. I just hacked it thinking if it fluffed out, it will leave myself a 15-, 20-footer for par. Chipped it over the green in the other bunker. It came out good, and rolled up about three feet from the hole. But that was good to par the first hole after being in trouble. But I can't think of any other hole. Was actually missing the green on 8.

Q. What was going through your mind when the ball was in the air on 10?

LEE JANZEN: That was good actually I was saying just hit that tree and kick out in the fairway, please. It hit the tree and not only did it kick out in the fairway it went towards the green. That was good. Palmetto bushes are over there. I was really hoping that it didn't go there. As long as it didn't do that and I had a swing, I could get it up near the green and make a par, I figured. As it turned out I had a chance to make a birdie.

Q. Did you think a 72 would put you in pretty good spot tomorrow if the conditions stay the same?

LEE JANZEN: I would make a great check. I don't know if it would have be good enough to win. I am not going to pick a score. I am just going to go out and on the first hole just try and hit as good a shot as I can. If I can start making birdies starting out, that would be great. If I could be as patient as I have been the last three days, and hit the ball as well as I have been the last three days, I think that I will at least have a chance the last few holes and it will be an enjoyable challenge.


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