Lehman turns back the clock at Charles Schwab Challenge
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Written by Sean Martin @PGATOURSMartin
Tom Lehman won the Charles Schwab Challenge in 1995, before many of the player in this week’s field were born.
On Thursday, he beat many of those same players.
Lehman, 61, nearly shot his age Thursday to find himself on the first page of the leaderboard when the morning wave completed play. His 5-under 65 left him just two strokes behind leader Justin Rose.
Lehman is now the oldest player to shoot 65 or better on TOUR in the last 40 years.
Colonial is a course that rewards precision over power, which allows older players to hang with their younger peers. Only three players under the age of 30 have won at Colonial in the last 30 years. Lehman’s performance was on another level, though. He averaged just 264 yards off the tee, but missed just three fairways and three greens.
It was his lowest score on the PGA TOUR since the opening round of the 2011 Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he finished T37.
“Do I feel like I'm capable of shooting a 65 out here at Colonial? Well, for certain I do,” Lehman said. “Did I expect to do it today? Well, I would be probably lying if I said I fully expected to play and shoot such a low score. But I did expect to play well.”
Lehman’s 65 today was two strokes lower than his first-round score when he won at Colonial. He shot 9-under 271 that week to finish one shot ahead of Craig Parry. It was the second of Lehman's five PGA TOUR victories, which also included the 1996 Open Championship.
Lehman showed last year that he can still hang with the kids. He shot 67-69 in the first two rounds of the inaugural 3M Open in his native state of Minnesota, and was tied with Matthew Wolff at the tournament’s halfway point. They were paired together in the third round when Wolff, who’s 40 years younger than Lehman, shot a 62 that put him in position to win his first PGA TOUR title.
“I think the opportunity to play and to play in a tournament that I love so much and that I've had some success at and I'm part of the history here, that's kind of what drove me to want to do it,” Lehman said. “If it would have been the second week back, third week back, fourth week back, it would have been the same feeling for me.”
Sean Martin manages PGATOUR.COM’s staff of writers as the Lead, Editorial. He covered all levels of competitive golf at Golfweek Magazine for seven years, including tournaments on four continents, before coming to the PGA TOUR in 2013. Follow Sean Martin on Twitter.