May 18 2011
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
VIDEO INTERVIEW: Lehman's pre-event press conference
Tom Lehman has always enjoyed coming to Fort Worth and playing in the tournament that is now known as the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
The 52-year-old Lehman won the event in 1995 and his last top-10 came as recently as 2007 when he tied for seventh. He returns this week with three Champions Tour victories under his belt -- and the lead in both the Charles Schwab Cup and money list.
"I always love playing here," Lehman said. "It's such a great old golf course. I don't feel like it benefits anybody other than those that could hit the right shots and can have a great putter.
"You don't need to hit super long. You need to be pretty straight. You need to be a good iron player and you need to be a good putter. If you can do that this week, no matter how old you are, you are going to have a good week."
Lehman might as well be describing himself on the Champions Tour this year.
He ranks fourth in total driving -- hitting more than 74 percent of his fairways -- and first in greens in regulation at 80 percent. He's second in birdie average and 13th in putting average.
"I haven't changed a thing," Lehman said when asked to quantify his success this year. "I haven't really changed anything in my swing since I was about 18. I think that's part of the reason why I'm playing well, consistently well is that my swing is really kind of simple and it's repetitive.
"I'm not trying to hit heroic shots. I'm just trying to play to my strengths, which means to me, when a pin isn't very accessible from my draw, I don't try to force it in there. I'm happy with a par and move on. I haven't really felt like I've changed my game at all. Maybe a little smarter as I get older."
Lehman has another reason to have a comfort zone in Fort Worth, too. His two daughters, are in summer school at Texas Christian, which happens to be within walking distance of Colonial.
Lehman said his daughters like the state of Texas' "independent spirit” and wanted to go to a college with a big-time football program. The Horned Frogs, who won the Rose Bowl last year, fit the bill.
"They've threatened that they are never going to come back to Arizona, and I kind of believe them," Lehman said. "They are pretty much hooked."