GOLF : Janzen pars his way to victory

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The Independent Online
After last year's low scores, the USPGA Tour turned their championship into a US Open style event, complete with narrow fairways and rough. Appropriately, a US Open champion won this Players Championship, Lee Janzen triumphing with patience and pars.

How much more difficult was the event at Sawgrass this year? Thirty strokes if you go by Greg Norman, who won at 24 under par in 1994 and finished at six over this year, but only 19 if you go by the winning score, as Janzen finished at five under par.

His margin was one stroke over Bernhard Langer, who had a birdie at the last to break a tie for second with Payne Stewart, Corey Pavin and Gene Sauers.

Conditions were difficult, particularly over the first three days when the wind blew. But there was virtually no wind yesterday and the scores did not improve. Before the start of the final round, Langer said that 71 would probably win the event for him. Indeed it would have, and it did for Janzen.

While Janzen was saving par from all over the place, Langer's play was uncharacteristically erratic. His total for the day included six birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey.

Langer did make par at the 11th hole, but only did so after a questionable drop to his advantage after he hit his second shot into the hazard. He sank an 18-foot putt to save par but left the green to scattered boos from the spectators.

PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla): Leading final scores (US unless stated): 283 L Janzen 69 74 69 71. 284 B Langer (Ger) 69 71 71 73. 285 G Sauers 67 72 78 68; P Stewart 69 73 71 72; C Pavin 66 73 72 74. 286 B Bryant 72 71 72 71; D Love III 73 67 74 72. 287 L Mize 69 77 72 69; B Andrade 74 69 73 71; N Ozaki (Japan) 74 70 72 71. 288 S Simpson 71 72 73 72; B Claar 74 70 71 73; S Stricker 69 71 74 74. 289 C Montgomerie (Sco) 79 70 71 69; P Mickelson 78 66 75 70; T Lehman 71 72 72 74. Selected: 291 J M Olazabal (Sp) 78 70 74 69; I Woosnam (Wal) 74 69 73 75. 294 S Ballesteros (Sp) 75 68 73 78. 296 J Parnevik (Swe) 74 74 72 76.

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