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Lehman Repeats as Schwab Cup Winner, Blake Finishes Fourth
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Asked about the season title scenarios entering the Champions Tour finale, Tom Lehman said all he knew was “if I win, I win.”That’s all he needed to know.
Lehman won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Sunday at Desert Mountain to become the first player to win the season points title two straight years.After shooting 68-63-62 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round, Lehman birdied four of the last five holes for a 5-under 65 and a six-stroke victory.
“It was a great week from start to finish,” Lehman said. “Absolutely, I played some of my best golf of the year. I’m very, very fortunate and thankful to be able to kind of bring my best when I needed it.”Lehman won at the mountainside club where he first worked with Jim Flick, the noted swing instructor stricken by pancreatic cancer.
“The more I thought about that, the more teary-eyed I would get,” said Lehman, who spoke to Flick on the phone before the round. “I decided I can’t play this round of golf with tears in my eyes. I have to wait until business is finished.”Lehman finished at 22-under 258 on the par-70 Cochise Course to break the Champions Tour record for the lowest numerical score in a 72-hole event. Jack Nicklaus set the previous record of 261 at par-72 Dearborn Country Club in Michigan in the 1990 Mazda Senior TPC.
Lehman also tied the tournament record for relation to par set by John Cook in 2009 at the par-72 Sonoma Golf Club in California.
“To chase a white ball and call it a job is so much fun to do,” Lehman said. “And the competition is so much fun.”
Lehman received a $1 million annuity in the Charles Schwab Cup points competition and earned $440,000 for the tournament victory. The 53-year-old Scottsdale resident also won the Regions Tradition in June in Alabama and has seven victories in 62 career starts on the 50-and-over tour. He won five times on the PGA TOUR.
He’ll use part of the $1 million annuity to help with a junior foundation he plans to set up to honor Flick.
“I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like,” Lehman said. “It probably will involve a tournament, a junior tournament. … If there is money needed to get it going, I’m sure this is where it will come from.”
Jay Haas shot a 69 to finish second. Jay Don Blake was third at 14 under after a 66, and Fred Couples and Fred Funk were another stroke back. Couples, a stroke behind Lehman at the start of the round, had a 73, and Funk shot 65.
Blake’s paycheck was $213,000. Blake shot 64-71-65-66-266.
Bernhard Langer was sixth at 11 under after a 65. He finished second in the season race, 435 points back after entering the week with a 211-point lead.
Tom Watson is the only other player to sweep the tournament and points title, accomplishing the feat in 2005 at Sonoma. Lehman is the fifth player to win two points titles, following Hale Irwin (2002, 2004), Watson (2003, 2005), Haas (2006, 2008) and Loren Roberts (2007, 2009).