Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lehman Plays on at Masters after Being Shot at in His Cadillac

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lehman Plays on at Masters after Being Shot at in His Cadillac

Article excerpt


AMERICAN Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman escaped death by inches in a random shooting on the eve of the Masters. As play began in the first round of the season's opening major Lehman revealed he heard "a loud explosion" while driving a Cadillac Escalade to Augusta Regional Airport where he was due to meet his son.

The 47-year-old winner of the Open Championship in 1996, who was alone at the time of the incident, stopped on the hard shoulder of the Bobby Jones Expressway and discovered a bullet lodged in the back door on the driver's side of his car.

Police reported there were no indications that a local man, Troy Smith, knew who he was firing at. Smith was later charged with aggravated assault, reckless conduct and carrying a concealed weapon.

Lehman was not hurt and appeared unaffected by the drama when he teed it up in a grouping that included Ryder Cup rival Ian Woosnam, the former Masters champion who will lead Europe's defence of the trophy at the K Club in Dublin in September.

The two players they were chasing were early pacesetters Lucas Glover, 26-year-old grandson of former American baseball star Dick Hendley, and Ben Crane.

Glover birdied the par five second to go one under alongside fellow American Crane who won yesterday's traditional pre-Masters par-three tournament. But the 30-year-old Crane has already been written off as a contender for a green jacket come Sunday evening.

Since the par-three competition started in 1960 no winner has gone on to claim victory in the main tournament in the same year.

Struggling straight from the start was three-times Masters champion Nick Faldo who, at 48, has already conceded that he no longer has the length off the tee to contend on a monster course like Augusta National.

Faldo dropped a shot at the 455-yards par four first as did former world No1 David Duval whose slump in form has seen him plunge to 436th in the world rankings.

The honour of hitting the first drive of the 70th Masters fell to Rod Pampling, the 36-year-old Australian who pipped Britain's Greg Owen to the Bay Hill Invitational title in Florida last month. …

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