Lehman wins Champions Tour finale, points title
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 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. He finished at 22-under 258 on Desert Mountain's Cochise Course to break the tournament mark for lowest score and tie the record for relation to par set by John Cook in 2009 at Sonoma Golf Club in California.
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.
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.
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, and earned a $500,000 annuity.
The German won twice this year and topped the money list with $2,140,296. Lehman was second on the money list with $1,982,575.
Lehman escaped trouble to birdie the par-14 14th, a day after holing a curving 35-foot par putt from the fringe on the difficult hole.
His drive nestled into thick rough inches past the front lip of a fairway bunker, forcing him to take a stance with his right foot in the bunker and his left about a foot and a half higher in the grass. He choked up on a 7-iron, took a short slash of a swing and advanced the ball about 155 yards, leaving a 12-foot putt.
He pumped his fist in a rare emotional display when the birdie putt tumbled in.
The unlikely birdie gave Lehman a four-stroke cushion, but Haas pulled within three again minutes later with a birdie on the par-5 15th.
Lehman pushed the advantage back to four with a 12-foot birdie putt on 15, and increased the lead to five with yet another 12-footer on the par-4 16th. He also two-putted for one last birdie on par-5 18th.
Tom Watson is the only other player to sweep the tournament and points title, accomplishing the feat in 2005 at Sonoma.
Couples had his lone birdie of the round on the par-5 18th and had four bogeys a day after shooting 62. He was playing his first tournament since a back injury forced him to withdraw during the first round of the Boeing Classic in late August. Before the event, he hadn't completed a competitive round since winning the Senior British Open in July for his second victory of the year.