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Tom Lehman set for Champions Tour debut

For all you married gentlemen about to turn 50, make sure you tell the better half about Melissa Lehman and what she did for her hubby last month. "She pulled a fast one," said the hubby, Tom, who grew up in Alexandria, Minn., and is one of professional golf's greatest rags-to-riches stories. "Packed my suitcase without me knowing it. My birthday was March 7.

I walked in the day before and she said, 'By the way, the rest of the week, you're out of commission because I'm taking you somewhere.' I didn't know where we were going until we got to the airport." It wasn't Detroit, folks. "Bora Bora," Lehman said. "I remember seeing a picture when we were first married of this island of Bora Bora and how amazing it looked. So that's where she took me. It was very cool."

Two weeks later, Lehman shot a third-round 68 for his first 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event in four years. Yeah, Lehman shot a final-round 75 and tied for eighth, but it showed he can still compete on the PGA Tour and is poised to really compete on the 50-and-over Champions Tour. His first Champions Tour event begins Friday when he and longtime friend and Ryder Cup opponent Bernhard Langer join together for the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf two-man, better-ball event at the Westin Savannah (Ga.) Harbor Golf Resort & Spa.

"I'm excited," Lehman said. "I've been looking forward to this for a while. I've been working hard on my game. The next step holds a lot of promise. I understand the competition is really good and you need to shoot low scores. But I feel I'm up to the challenge."

Lehman has come a long way since the summer of 1972, when he broke 70 for the first time with a par on the 18th hole at Alexandria Golf Club. He still breaks 70, but he no longer does it as a barefoot 13-year-old in cutoff jeans and a muscle T-shirt.


April 23, 2009

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