PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club


Why Tom Lehman wasn't too surprised about posting his lowest PGA Tour score in nearly a decade

June 11, 2020

Tom Pennington

As a member of the PGA Tour Champions for more than a decade, Tom Lehman has frequently contended for the season-long Charles Schwab Cup, winning it back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. But at least for one day, Lehman finds himself in the mix to win the Charles Schwab Challenge on the PGA Tour.

The 61-year-old shot a first-round 65 at Colonial Country Club on Thursday to place himself among the early leaders. It was Lehman's lowest score on the PGA Tour since the opening round of the 2011 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

To put Lehman's age in perspective, Bryson DeChambeau, one of the players Lehman was tied with in the morning wave, was still a junior in high school when Lehman last shot this low on the regular tour. Not that the five-time PGA Tour champ and 12-time PGA Tour Champions winner seemed too surprised.

"I've been aiming for this week for a while," Lehman told reporters. "I live in Arizona, and we've been able to play golf all the way through this COVID-19 thing, so I've been playing a lot, practicing a lot. My game feels pretty good. I love the golf course. It benefits people who put the ball in the fairway, no doubt. Today I hit it straight and made a few putts."

With the senior circuit not resuming until July 31 with the Ally Challenge, Lehman was happy for a spot in this week's field by virtue of being a former champ.

"I think the biggest thing is knowing that I'm not taking a spot from some young guy out here on this tour," said Lehman, who won this event a quarter century ago. "So the ability to come and play without causing somebody else to not play actually was part of what determined whether I would play or not. Because I'm a past champion, and the same at Memorial, where I can play without causing somebody else to not be able to play, I'm looking forward to playing in both of them."

Even par through five holes, Lehman recorded five birdies against no bogeys the rest of the day.

"I kind of felt like if I could just finish out two under, three under, I would have been really happy with that," Lehman said. "To get a couple more is definitely frosting on the cake."

Get a few more tomorrow, Tom, and you might just shoot your age.