Janzen returns to Nationwide Tour on a missionApril 26, 2012
Joe Chemycz, PGA TOUR Staff
Two-time U.S. Open champ Lee Janzen is making his first Nationwide Tour start since 1990 at the South Georgia Classic. Eight-time PGA TOUR winner Janzen rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 2-over 74 late Thursday afternoon. Janzen has only made two previous starts on the Nationwide Tour and both of those came in 1990.
"The first nine holes I hit a lot of good shots and like golf can be, sometimes you get a little misfortune," he said. "I had two bunker shots that I couldn't aim anywhere near the pin or the green, which is unfortunate. I was at a stage where I was just trying to get to where I could bogey the hole."
Janzen, a veteran of 600 career starts on the PGA TOUR, recovered nicely on the back but is T87 after the opening 18. He has seven starts on the PGA TOUR this year, and five cuts made, including a T29 at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina two weeks ago.
"Playing out of the Past Champions category and looking at my schedule, my next start would be Memphis. That's six weeks off and that's a long time to have off," said Janzen, 47. "I have full-exempt status on the Nationwide and that's another avenue to get back on TOUR, which is my main goal, to get back in the top 125. I should be aiming higher than that but first things first."
Janzen says he may opt to play more on the Nationwide Tour this year in an effort to regain his status, but will hold off making any decisions until it's absolutely necessary. He could wind playing at next week's Stadion Classic at UGA in Athens, if he doesn't successfully qualify on Monday for the PGA TOUR event in Charlotte, N.C.
"I came here feeling my game was in great shape. It would be great to play well this week and next week and then have that decision, whether I choose to do it or not," he said. "No matter where I play, I need to play well, period."
Janzen is a two-time winner of the U.S. Open. His second title came in 1998 in San Francisco's Olympic Club, the site of this year's championship. Janzen has yet to qualify for this year's tournament.
"I would love to go back," he said. "To play any U.S. Open venue would be exciting but to be able to go back to Olympic, knowing I have great memories there, it would be special but I also feel that I can play well on that course."
The last time Janzen played in Valdosta was in 1986 at the NCAA Division II Regional tournament with his team from Florida Southern. The Mocs finished first at Valdosta Country Club and advanced to the NCAA Championship, where Janzen won the individual title.