Naples, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Lee Janzen parred the first playoff hole on
Sunday to defeat Bart Bryant and win for the first time on the Champions Tour
at the ACE Group Classic.
Janzen, who had not won since claiming his second U.S. Open Championship in
1998, carded a final-round, 5-under 67. Bryant exploded up the leaderboard,
tying the course record with a 10-under 62 and he finished regulation tied
with Janzen at 16-under-par 200.
Following the win, Janzen vocalizing just how much this win meant to him.
“A lot of it just has to do with joy. It’s been a long time,” said Janzen.
“It’s hard to put into words. It’s emotional, it’s what the game does to you.
Everything is heightened and amplified and extreme, all of your emotions.”
On the first playoff hole at No. 18, Bryant’s second shot found the water
short of the green, which all but sealed it for Janzen. The 50-year-old hit
his second shot safely on the green and two-putted for par and the win.
Esteban Toledo had a strong day with a 6-under 66 on the Talon Course at The
TwinEagles Club and he ended alone in third at 14-under 202. Scott Dunlap (67)
finished one shot further back at minus-13.
Colin Montgomerie, who held the outright lead after the first and second
rounds, had to settle for an even-par 72 and he finished alone in fifth at 12-
With Montgomerie leading Janzen by one to start the day, it appeared as if
Montgomerie was determined to go wire-to-wire as he birdied the first to take
a 2-shot lead at minus-13. However, that was the only gain on the front nine
for Montgomerie as he made eight straight pars and made the turn at minus-1.
Montgomerie played his final nine holes at plus-1 with just two birdies and
three bogeys as he finished four shots back.
In the meantime, starting his round six shots back of the lead, Bryant drained
his second shot from the fairway on the par-4 first for eagle, putting him at
8-under. While Janzen made three straight birdies from No. 3 to take the
outright lead at minus-14, Bryant continued to surge with four straight gains
from No. 3 to get within two of Janzen.
A Bryant birdie on No. 9 pulled him even with Montgomerie and to within one of
Janzen. It was Janzen’s turn to take a 2-shot lead when he made his fourth
birdie on No. 8.
That did not last long, however, as Bryant, playing two groups ahead of the
final pairing, made birdie on 11 to pull within one again. Another birdie from
Janzen on 11 gave him a 2-shot advantage once again, but he tripped to his
first bogey on 12 and was back down to 15-under.
Right when Janzen made his bogey, Bryant holed his ninth birdie on 13 and just
like that he was tied for the lead. From there it was virtually a two-player
race to the finish.
Bryant took advantage of the par-5 17th hole as he was able to roll in a
birdie putt and he took the outright lead for the first time. As Bryant
finished up with a par at the last, Janzen’s birdie putt on 17 just lipped out
and he headed to the tough 18th needing a birdie to force a playoff.
Janzen came through in a big way on 18, which was playing as the second-
hardest hole on the course Sunday. Janzen stuck his approach to within eight
feet and left himself an uphill putt for birdie. He rolled it right in the
center of the cup, forcing a playoff with Bryant.
“I had to birdie 18. I basically had the same putt four holes in a row and
missed them until 18,” Janzen said. “I had plenty of opportunities all day
long … But I was so grateful and happy to get in a playoff.”
Back on the 18th for the playoff, Bryant’s tee shot was in the fairway but not
very long. Janzen also found the fairway and was much further than Bryant.
Needing to hit over the water to get to the green, Bryant’s second shot came
up short, bounced backwards off rocks and went into the hazard. From there
Janzen coasted to a par to claim his title.
NOTES: This was the fourth playoff in tournament history, with the last one
coming in 2008 … Janzen has eight career victories on the PGA Tour …
Bryant tied the course record set by Larry Mize and Kenny Perry in 2012, which
was matched the following year in 2013 by Bernhard Langer … Defending
champion Kirk Triplett shot a 2-over 74 to finish tied for 29th at 2-under 214
… Langer withdrew prior to Sunday’s final round due to a family matter …
With the win, Janzen earned $240,000 … The Champions Tour is back in action
on March 20 for the inaugural Tucson Conquistadores Classic.