98th U.S. Open | June 18-21, 1998
Olympic Club Lake Course, Daly City, Calif.
|Lee Janzen, United States||73||-||66||-||73||-||68||—||280|
|Payne Stewart, United States||66||-||71||-||70||-||74||—||281|
|Bob Tway, United States||68||-||70||-||73||-||73||—||284|
|Nick Price, Zimbabwe||73||-||68||-||71||-||73||—||285|
|Steve Stricker, United States||73||-||71||-||69||-||73||—||286|
|Tom Lehman, United States||68||-||75||-||68||-||75||—||286|
In 1993, Lee Janzen ruined Payne Stewart’s bid at Baltusrol Golf Club with a dramatic chip-in for birdie to grab his first U.S. Open title.
And more fortuitous bounces helped Janzen claim another national open championship — at Stewart’s expense.
To be fair, Stewart had a big enough cushion — a four-shot advantage over Tom Lehman and Bob Tway entering the final round — that what Janzen pulled off should not have mattered.
But it did.
After a bogey at the third hole, Janzen trailed by five strokes. Then on the fifth hole, he hit a towering drive into a cypress pine off the fairway that did not fall to the ground.
Janzen walked up to the spot and glanced up. He saw a golf ball. But he could not identify it.
Thinking all hope was lost, he grabbed his driver and headed back to the tee to hit another drive, only to hear commotion in the tree.
A rush of wind rustled through the grounds, and stirred the golf ball enough it fell to the ground.
Given a break, Janzen was able to chip in from 20 feet for par.
And that triggered a run of short birdies at the seventh, 11th and 13th holes.
Meanwhile, Stewart was making a mess of it. When he did hit a fairway, he felt like he was snake-bitten.
At the 12th hole, Stewart’s tee ball came to stop in a sand-filled divot — an unfortunate circumstance. It led to a bogey, and he fell out of the lead for the first time all tournament.
Stewart rallied by sinking a 15-foot putt for birdie two holes later, but gave it right back at No. 16, a long par 5 where he hit his third shot into a greenside bunker, and made another bogey.
Coming back from five shots down to win was the largest deficit a U.S. Open winner had overcome since Johnny Miller was six shots down at Oakmont in 1973 before firing his magical 63.
It was Janzen’s first victory since his three-win PGA Tour season in 1995, which included one at The Players Championship. He also became the 18th golfer to win multiple U.S. Open titles.
As for Stewart, he shrugged off the final-day disappointment, saying, “The Payne Stewart I hoped would show up, didn’t show up today.”
Also, four-time U.S. Open champion Jack Nicklaus — age 58 — made his final cut at the national open.
And Tiger Woods tied for 18th at 10-over 290.