Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lehman's Late Charge Comes Up Short after 'Blunder' at 16

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lehman's Late Charge Comes Up Short after 'Blunder' at 16

Article excerpt

While Joe Daley lined up for his birdie putt on the 18th green at Fox Chapel Golf Club, Tom Lehman was trying to get his mind clear. He was signing hats and photos for a group of kids bordering the corral outside the scorer's tent.

He looked up when Daley was putting and looked back down when the crowd roared. He signed a hat and gave a tight smile. Kids don't mind the difference between first and second place, anyway. Daley's birdie had sealed the Constellation Senior Players Championship title, leaving Lehman two strokes back and pacing the rest of the field.

Lehman, 53, stepped back from the fence with his hands on his hips. He waited for the final pairing to pass. He nodded to Fred Couples and patted Mark Calcavecchia on the shoulder. And he smiled wide when Daley came walking up through the crowd.

"Well done," Lehman said, reaching to shake the victor's hand.

"That was some good stuff, wasn't it?" Daley responded with a grin.

It was good stuff. It was drama.

When he stepped to the 15th tee box an hour earlier, Lehman was coming off two bogeys and sat four shots behind Daley.

"I knew I had to make some birdies," Lehman said.

And make birdies he did. He birdied Nos. 15, 17 and 18. But he three-putted 16 for a bogey. It was the final of four mistakes in the round for Lehman, the most devastating "blunder," as he put it.

"When you're behind and have to catch somebody you can't afford to make mistakes," Lehman said.

When Lehman sank his putt at 18 to finish with a 69, Daley was just teeing off on the final hole and held only a one-stroke lead. Lehman, despite a frustrating day, still had a chance. But Daley sank 21-foot come-backer for the title by two strokes.

"Tough day," Lehman said. "I feel good about the week, feel good about the effort, not happy about the way I played [Sunday].

"I played OK, just not good enough."

Lehman's 69 was his 12th consecutive sub-70s round, one short of Hale Irwin's record set in 1999. …

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