Golf: Janzen displays the spirit of a hunter: US Open champion follows in the footsteps of the Golden Bear as Lane finishes joint 16th to head the disappointing European challenge

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LEE JANZEN, who is so confident of making a lasting impression he is taking lessons from a media expert on how to deal with the press, underwent a thorough interrogation from the Fourth Estate yesterday after an even more impressive performance on the historic estate of Baltusrol. The 28- year-old from Kissimmee in Florida won the 93rd US Open Championship by two strokes from Payne Stewart.

Jack Nicklaus, who won the previous two US Opens at Baltusrol, has had a good look at Janzen. 'He has a terrific looking swing and a very solid game,' Nicklaus said. 'He's got a good attitude and as young as he is has got an excellent future.' After yesterday Janzen has an excellent past. What Nicklaus and Janzen have in common is that they are both coached by Rick Smith. 'He's a fighter,' Smith said of Janzen. 'When he gets into the hunt he can close the door better than anyone I've seen.'

There is something else that Nicklaus and Janzen have in common. When the Golden Bear won here in 1980 he established a record aggregate of 272, eight under par. Janzen equalled that and also became the second player in the history of the competition to score four rounds in the sixties: 67, 67, 69, 69. The only other player to achieve the feat was another Lee, Trevino in 1968. Janzen had the odd stroke of luck which enabled him to keep Stewart at arm's length but he deserved it. He chipped in for a two at the 16th, which gave him a two-stroke lead, and held on to it.

Janzen's drive at the 17th careered into the branch of a tree on the right and bounced back on to the fairway. At the last he drove into the rough on the right. His route to the green was interrupted by a lake and a series of bunkers and eventually he decided to play safe. He hit a wedge short of the water and then hit a four-iron which kicked off a bank and finished seven feet from the flag. 'I couldn't have hit it there if I tried to,' Janzen said. 'I had a lucky bounce.' Stewart, who had hit the better drive, found a bunker with his approach. Both birdied the 18th.

Janzen, who first appeared on the US Tour in 1990, led the hunt yesterday and over the early holes he increased his lead from one stroke to two. He started the day at seven under par, one in front of Stewart, the 1991 US Open champion. Stewart, dressed in the colours of the local Buffalo Bills, missed the green at the first hole, chipped to five feet and missed the putt to take a bogey five.

Janzen, his playing partner, also missed the green with his approach shot at the first but played a beautifully judged shot from a bunker to save par. Although he dropped a stroke at the second, missing a putt from four feet, he recovered to seven under with a birdie three at the third, holing a putt from around 25 feet.

Those with sharp memories will recall his opening round of 66 in the Open Championship at Muirfield last summer. It tied him with Nick Faldo but only for a day. Janzen, who has won twice on the US Tour, also tied for the lead after a 67 in the first round of the Masters at Augusta two months ago. His ambition, which he has realised in magnificent style, is to play in the Ryder Cup at The Belfry in September. He won dollars 290,000 yesterday.

While Janzen and Stewart set the pace, the best of the rest were making little headway. Nick Price, the US PGA champion, missed a series of short putts and faded from the picture.

No European since Tony Jacklin in 1970 has won the US Open; the last non-American to win it was the Australian David Graham in 1981. Ten Europeans played in this championship and five missed the cut. None of the survivors threatened to appear on the leaderboard and only two of them, Barry Lane and Colin Montgomerie managed to break the par of 70.

Yesterday Big Monty shot 68 for an aggregate of 284, four over par. From tee to green he played well but his putting ruined his card. He three- putted on seven occasions.

Faldo finished with a 72, nine over par for the championship, and Ian Woosnam a 70, which left him at six over. Sandy Lyle, despite a hole in one at the 12th, had a 72 and he was six over for the tournament.

'It's very disappointing,' Faldo said. 'I tried to find something. There's not a lot wrong with my game. I'm just a little bit out.' Woosnam missed only two greens in regulation yesterday but had a total of seven birdies in four rounds.

They were all at a loss to explain the European demise. The fact is that most of them do not apply themselves to a task that requires very different disciplines. There are no excuses. They simply haven't worked hard enough. When Faldo challenged strongly for the US Open five years ago he, like most of the leading Europeans, played regularly in America. Now none of them are members of the US Tour and their chances of acclimatising here, let alone winning an event like the US Open, are minimal.

None of them had any complaints about Baltusrol, which they described as fair because the rough was manageable. The greens, however, take some getting used to and none of the Europeans, bar Lane, exuded any confidence or enthusiasm. Lane's goal was to qualify for next year's US Open. He did not achieve that but his position of joint 16th earned him an invitation to the Masters next year. Mark James, who could have played in this championship, courtesy of being the leader of the Order of Merit, preferred Jersey to New Jersey and, under the circumstances, he was probably wise to do so. The chances of anybody coming out here for a week and winning the US Open are slim to non-existent which makes the performance of Lane, who was making his debut in the US Open, all the more admirable.

FINAL-ROUND SCORES FROM BALTUSROL

(US unless stated)

272

L Janzen 67 67 69 69

274

P Stewart 70 66 68 70

277

P Azinger 71 68 69 69

C Parry (Aus) 66 74 69 68

278

S Hoch 66 72 72 68

T Watson 70 66 73 69

279

E Els (SA) 71 73 68 69

R Floyd 68 73 70 68

F Funk 70 72 67 70

N Henke 72 71 67 69

el. 5

280

J Adams 70 70 69 71

D Edwards 70 72 66 72

N Price (Zim) 71 66 70 73

L Roberts 70 70 71 69

J Sluman 71 71 69 69

281

F Couples 68 71 71 71

B Lane (GB) 74 68 70 69

M Standly 70 69 70 72

282

I Baker-Finch (Aus) 70 70 70 72

D Forsman 73 71 70 68

T Lehman 71 70 71 70

B McCallister 68 73 73 68

S Pate 70 71 71 70

C Pavin 68 69 75 70

283

C Beck 72 68 72 71

M Calcavecchia 70 70 71 72

J Cook 75 66 70 72

W Levi 71 69 69 74

R Mediate 68 72 73 70

N Ozaki (Japan) 70 70 74 69

K Perry 74 70 68 71

C Strange 73 68 75 67

284

R Allenby (Aus) 74 69 69 72

B Andrade 72 67 74 71

J Daly 72 68 72 72

M Donald 71 72 67 74

S Elkington 71 70 69 74

B Gilder 70 69 75 70

D Love III 70 74 68 72

S Lowery 72 71 75 66

C Montgomerie (GB) 71 72 73 68

M Ozaki (Japan) 71 71 72 70

L Rinker 70 72 71 71

C Stadler 67 74 71 72

G Twiggs 72 72 70 70

285

M Brooks 72 68 74 71

B Claar 71 70 72 72

R Fehr 71 72 70 72

M McCumber 70 71 73 71

L Nelson 70 71 71 73

S Simpson 70 73 72 70

286

F Allem (SA) 71 70 74 71

M Christie 70 74 71 71

K Clearwater 71 72 71 72

B Estes 71 73 69 73

V Heafner 70 72 73 71

E Kirby 72 71 72 71

A Lyle (GB) 70 74 70 72

J Maggert 69 70 73 74

K Triplett 70 72 75 69

I Woosnam (GB) 70 74 72 70

287

J D Blake 72 70 71 74

J Edwards 71 73 70 73

M Hulbert 71 73 72 71

I Irwin 73 71 71 72

A Knoll (Can) 71 70 73 73

M Smith 68 72 69 73

288

B Faxon 72 71 70 75

S Gotsche 70 73 71 74

* J Leonard 69 71 73 75

F Zoeller 73 67 78 70

289

N Faldo (GB) 70 74 73 72

P Jordan 71 70 73 75

J Nicklaus 70 72 76 71

G Waite (NZ) 69 73 74 73

D Waldorf 71 72 71 75

290

J Haas 71 69 75 75

T Johnstone (Zim) 71 72 74 73

B Thompson 71 73 71 75

M Wiebe 71 72 77 70

291

W Grady (Aus) 69 75 70 77

T Schulz 71 73 69 78

292

S Stricker 72 72 76 72

294

S Flesch 71 70 78 75

295

J Flannery 73 69 75 78

D Weaver 70 73 77 75

297

R Wrenn 68 73 80 76

298

R Gamez 70 72 78 78

* denotes amateur

(Photograph omitted)

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