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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – It took just one tweak for Jan Schneider to end the week on top.
Schneider had been told plenty of times before that he would tend to keep his putter in too close to his body at address, something that messes with his eye alignment with the ball and consequently causes him a tougher time in viewing the correct line on a putt. But he never went about seriously fixing it.
Good thing he’s attentive. Schneider had noticed his putting coach, Jason Bail, often used a putting mirror. So Schneider bought one himself a couple weeks ago. And what do you know … after using the aid, he realized his putter was too inside at address.
Just a few days before the Golfweek International Junior Invitational, he simply moved his putter out at address, which put his eyes back over the ball. And then for two days of competition in Florida…
“I putted lights out,” Schneider said.
Schneider missed just three putts inside 10 feet over 36 holes at Disney’s Palm Golf Course, as he used consecutive rounds of 3-under 68 to take a two-shot win Sunday at the Golfweek International Junior Invitational.
He did it in style, too, as Schneider dealt with the pressure of holding a share of the overnight lead and then capped off his performance with a birdie at 18.
Schneider, of Erlangen, Germany, beat out Brett Inserra, formerly known as “Cheese,” and Julian Perico, who closed in 66, to grab the title. Inserra, Schneider’s 18-hole co-leader, and Perico tied for second at 4 under. Overall just six players broke par over two days at a difficult Palm Course.
A Class of 2017 prospect and a senior at Lake Mary Preparatory School, Schneider moved his education from Germany to the U.S. – first to Hilton Head Island, S.C., then relocating to Lake Mary, Fla., a year-and-a-half ago – in order to get away from cold weather and a shorter golf season.
Funnily enough, he’ll soon be returning to a similar climate to Germany. Schneider has committed to the University of Washington, where he will officially sign on Wednesday.
Schneider had the interesting scenario of being recruited to Washington right around the time head coach Matt Thurmond announced he was leaving for the head post at Arizona State.
Yet, the German, 109th in Golfweek‘s junior rankings and 54th in the Class of 2017, never wavered, even with Thurmond’s departure. He signed on after Thurmond left.
“I had such a good relationship with (assistant coach) Michael (Wilson),” Schneider said. “He’s really the one who got me going to Washington.”
He also remains steadfast in what his home country can offer him, even if he’s no longer there year-round.
When the school year ended this past May, Schneider returned to Germany, where his family still lives, for the summer. It has served for him as a nice break from the pressures of golf. Yes, he still hits the links, but with no coach back home, his time in Germany gives him an opportunity to learn.
“You take the technique out of it and that’s when I learn how to play golf,” Schneider said. “And then coming here into tournaments, that’s what you want to do; think how you want to play golf.”
It served him very well this year. Schneider returned to the states and promptly won his first AJGA title at the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy Junior Championship in early August. Now a second win in three months.
And that last one possible with just one simple fix. Schneider is several months away from joining the Washington squad, but after his magical work at Disney, he’s optimistic he can be put to good use.
“I’ve been playing well,” Schneider said. “I hope I’ll make a nice impact for the Huskies.”