Lehman repeats at the Tradition
Birmingham, AL (Sports Network) - Tom Lehman successfully defended his title Sunday at the Tradition after a four-under 68, his fourth round in the 60s this week.
Lehman, the 1996 British Open champion, finished at 14-under 274 and won by two strokes at Shoal Creek.
The win was Lehman's sixth on the Champions Tour and his third major title. His other major victory came at the 2010 Senior PGA Championship and Lehman became the first player to successfully defend a major championship title on the elder circuit since Allen Doyle won back-to-back U.S. Senior Opens in 2005 and 2006.
Bernhard Langer and Chien Soon Lu both posted six-under 66s on Sunday to share second at 12-under 276. Fred Couples fired a seven-under 65 to vault into fourth at minus-10.
With tee times moved up due to bad weather forecast, Lehman won his second straight Tradition in a near constant rain storm.
Weather not withstanding, this year's win was certainly easier than last year's when he beat Peter Senior in a playoff.
"I don't mind any really condition other than rain. I don't like playing in the rain, I never have," said Lehman. "I'm not sure why it is. To me, it kind of makes me really uncomfortable. I feel like I lose rhythm of my swing."
Lehman began the final round with a two-shot lead and was shaky early. He bogeyed the second, but atoned for the error with a birdie at No. 3. Jeff Sluman briefly tied him for first, but Lehman recorded a tap-in birdie at six and a 30-footer at seven to move two clear of Senior, who birdied two of his first six.
Lehman parred four in a row around the turn and never surrendered the lead.
Langer birdied four of his first seven, but back-to-back bogeys at eight and nine derailed his round. He birdied the 10th, but Lehman collected consecutive birdies at 12 and 13 to stay two clear of Langer, who also birdied 13, 14 and 15.
Langer parred his last three, while Lu played his last 13 holes in six-under par to sneak to 12-under par.
Lehman called his six-iron at 16 "the shot of the day." He knocked it to eight feet and poured in the birdie putt to move three ahead. He dropped a shot at the par-five 17th thanks to a three-putt, but his par at the last was enough for a two-shot victory.
"I'm very pleased with the way I played. I just persevered," said Lehman. "I hit the ball pretty well all week long. It was a good day. It was a good week. I really have enjoyed this golf course, playing this tournament, this city, the people here."
Russ Cochran and Bill Glasson both had two-under 70s on Sunday to share fifth at nine-under par. Sluman struggled after his early start and posted an even- par 72 to tie for seventh with Brad Bryant, who carded a one-under 71. That pair finished at minus-eight.
Michael Allen (67) and Fred Funk (72) shared ninth at seven-under par.
NOTES: Lehman pocketed $335,000 for the win...Lehman joined Funk, Gil Morgan and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win this event multiple times...Morgan and Nicklaus both won back-to-back and Nicklaus actually pulled off that feat twice...Roger Chapman, who won the first major of the year at the Senior PGA Championship, tied for 55th at eight-over par...The Champions Tour moves north to Canada in two weeks for the Montreal Championship, where John Cook will defend his title.
06/10 17:39:16 ET