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Love's Labor Lost
Tim Rosaforte
June 19, 1995
Davis Love III's collapse at Avenel opened the door to a victory for Lee Janzen
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June 19, 1995

Love's Labor Lost

Davis Love III's collapse at Avenel opened the door to a victory for Lee Janzen

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"I was going for it," Norman said. "I have no regrets. I'm ready for next week."

At this point it might be easy to say, Who isn't ready? Price shot 68 on Sunday to finish eight under, in a tie for ninth with four others, including Stewart. Vijay Singh, along with Jacobsen and Janzen a two-time winner this year, closed with 68 to wind up in the five-way tie for fourth. And don't forget about Love, whose troubles started on Saturday when his 300-yard tee shot at the 6th hole hit a spectator and sent her to Suburban Hospital in critical but stable condition. Sandy Zober, a nurse from Bethesda, Md., came to the Kemper just to see Love, and she got close enough to hear his apologies before she was suddenly rushed off to the first-aid station. Zober recovered sufficiently by the next day that she was released at 5:15 p.m.—about the time Love was in need of an ambulance himself.

Love left the course after his collapse without saying a word to anybody. After a course-record-tying 63 on Friday gave him a two-stroke lead, he played the last 36 holes in two over. It wasn't at all like his dramatic 66-71 finish in the Freeport McMoRan Classic, which put him in a playoff that he eventually won to earn an invitation to this year's Masters. Nor was it like his closing 66 at Augusta National, which was good for a second-place finish behind Ben Crenshaw. "If anything, this will make him angry," Pavin said of his '93 Ryder Cup teammate's performance. "I wouldn't be surprised to see Davis play well next week and the next few weeks. It will make him more determined."

It is hard to find any two players more determined than Pavin and Janzen when it comes to closing a deal. Janzen admitted, "The last guy I wanted to be going back to 18 with was Corey." And the feeling was mutual.

Pavin got to the playoff by making 10-foot par-saving putts on the 17th and 18th holes. At the 72nd hole, he went from fairway bunker to greenside spinach rough to a nerve-testing spot on the green. If there's anybody in golf you would want putting a 10-footer to stay alive it would be Pavin, but he came to Avenel having missed three cuts in his last four tournaments. Not only that, Pavin was using a putter different from the Bullseye that has been in his hands since 1984.

Following a missed cut at the Memorial, Pavin flew home to Orlando and listened to his wife, Shannon, who suggested a change. Over that weekend he worked on the putting green at Bay Hill with the head pro, Jim Deaton. He brought with him a handful of Cleveland Golf putters before choosing a replica of the Wilson 8802 used by Crenshaw.

In danger of missing the cut after an opening-round 73, Pavin birdied three of his last seven holes Friday morning to shoot 68 and play his way into the weekend. That afternoon he met President Clinton for 18 holes at Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va. He wouldn't report his score—or the President's. "I can't say," he said. "It's classified."

With a different look to his putter and a slightly different stroke, Pavin took only 22 putts on Saturday to match Love's 63 and jump from 42nd to third on the leader board. But on Sunday he needed his 27th and last putt of regulation to survive.

"I didn't think of it much," Pavin said. "Just line it up, put a good stroke on it and don't worry. I'm happy with that putt and the putts before that. It's a good confidence builder going into the Open."

It may be, but nobody goes into Shinnecock on a bigger rocket boost than Janzen, the quiet assassin who appears to be bulletproof. "Lee does a lot of stuff I do," says Pavin. "When he's in a position to win, he wins. There's a few guys who do that well, and he's one of them."

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