Golfer Tom Lehman returns to scene of triumph for Senior Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes

Tom Lehman wins The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 1996   Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Tom Lehman wins The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 1996 Picture: GETTY IMAGES
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Tom Lehman will return to the site of his triumph in The Open in 1996 when he tees it up in The Senior Open Presented by Rolex at Royal Lytham and St Annes from July 25-28.

Tom Lehman will return to the site of his triumph in The Open in 1996 when he tees it up in The Senior Open Presented by Rolex at Royal Lytham and St Annes from July 25-28.
Lehman held off the challenge of compatriot Mark McCumber and South Africa’s Ernie Els on the Fylde coast 23 years ago, when he topped the American Money List at the end of the season.
The 60-year-old, who was USA Ryder Cup Captain in 2006, is relishing the opportunity to return to Royal Lytham and St Annes seven years after his last appearance at The Open on the same course.
“It’s quite a golf course, a complete test,” said the American. “Like most links courses you have to drive it straight – there are more than 200 bunkers out there.
“If you can find a way to avoid those you are ahead of the game but it’s hard to do.
“When you get a chance to play Championship golf on some of the world’s greatest courses, there’s nothing like it. Any Open gets me interested but this one sticks out in particular.
“I’ve not won The Senior Open. It would be great to win it, period. But it would be somewhat fulfilling to do it at the same venue where I won The Open.”
The American played one of the best rounds of his life at that ’96 Open as he carded a course-record 64 on Saturday to take a six-stroke lead into the final round. Lehman’s seven-under round was matched by Adam Scott in 2012 but has never been bettered.
“I really rolled the ball beautifully that day,” recalled Lehman. “Every putt I hit was dead solid. I had great speed off the putter face and I holed a lot of them.
“I ended up shooting a 64 with the wind blowing.
“It was truly one of the best rounds I’ve played in any competition. A lot of good things happened that day.
“The only negative was bogeying the 18th. At that point you can’t complain too much. I did so many things well it would have been foolish to worry about that.”
On the Sunday, McCumber and Els set the clubhouse target at 11-under but Lehman took a two-stroke lead down the final hole despite bogeys at 15 and 17.
He tapped home a three-foot putt for par to become the first American winner of the Claret Jug at the Fylde course since Bobby Jones 70 years earlier.
Lehman said: “A two-stroke lead isn’t as good as a three-stroke lead. One bad shot can cost you a double but it’s very rare that you make a triple. The issue was putting the ball in green grass off the tee, which I did.
“The next shot was a beautiful eight iron which found the top of the green and that’s when it really became fun.
“The walk to that green was quite the thrill. It was the only time my father had been to The Open, so he was one for one. I know he was a proud dad and I was a proud son. It was a wonderful moment.”
Lehman is among a host of former Major champions, Ryder Cup Captains and European Tour winners competing at Royal Lytham and St Annes this summer.
He will join fellow former Ryder Cup Captains Bernhard Langer, Paul McGinley Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam in the field as the stars of the golfing world descend on the Fylde coast for Europe’s only Senior Major Championship.
Do not miss your chance to watch Miguel Angel Jiménez defend his title against the world’s best golfers aged 50 and over.
Tickets start from £13.50 and are available from eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-senior-open-presented-by-rolex-2019-tickets-50085470992.
Hospitality options in The Lehman Lounge are also available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-senior-open-presented-by-rolex-2019-hospitality-tickets-58116514058. Entry for Under-16s and parking are free.