Lee Janzen didn't look like a man worried about a jinx.
Not with a $216,000 check in his pocket for winning the Buick Classic on Sunday. Not with the millstone of a year-long slump finally removed from his neck.But it is true, someone told him, that no tournament winner has ever gone to the U.S. Open the next week and also won.
"Yet," he shot back, not missing a beat.
The Lee Janzen of steady golf and unshakable confidence, who emerged 51 weeks ago with a surprising victory in the 1993 U.S. Open, appears to be back. Just in time for the 1994 Open, which begins Thursday at Oakmont near Pittsburgh.
This weekend at the Westchester Country Club, which he said was probably his favorite course in the world, Janzen's resurgence continued. After two 69s to start the tournament, Janzen shot 64 Saturday and 66 Sunday and came away with a three-stroke victory over Ernie Els.
"I feel like my game's good or better than it was a year ago," Janzen said.
Janzen and Els, playing together in the last pairing Sunday and cheered on by an enthusiastic gallery, engaged in a great battle until Janzen pulled away on the last three holes.
At one point Sunday, between Nos. 5 and 10, Els, Janzen or both birdied.
Els, who started the round a shot behind Janzen, drew even with birdies at Nos. 2, 6 and 8 and he also tied when Janzen bogeyed Nos. 12 and 15. But he could never pull ahead. His best chance came on No. 13, when his six-footer for birdie rimmed out.
"We were pushing each other," said Els who had a 68. "We both really played good golf."
Janzen won on the 204-yard par-3 16th at Westchester, a narrow and hilly course the pros say is similar to Open courses.
He made a twisting 35-foot birdie putt to break a tie with Els and go 15 under. Moments later, Els, who had pushed his tee shot into a trap to the right of the green, left a 12-footer for par a few inches to the right of the cup for a bogey and the two-stroke swing.
Janzen, 29, made a six-foot birdie putt on 18 to finish with a 72-hole total of 16-under 268, tying the Buick Classic tournament record set by David Frost in 1992. The victory was his fourth in five years on the PGA Tour.
Brad Faxon shot 66 Sunday and Jay Haas 67 to finish tied at 274. Billy Andrade, Bob Burns and Steve Pate were at 276.
Els won $129,000 for his best finish ever in 16 PGA Tour events. Only 24, he has finished in the top 10 in four major tournaments, including the 1993 U.S. Open and 1994 Masters. He says he plans to play on the PGA Tour full-time next year.
Mike Reid, the first-round leader at 65 Thursday, faded with a 73 Saturday and 75 Sunday and was at 283.