THE ever dependable Tom Lehman only needed a par to beat rivals Fred Couples and South African David Frost on the first playoff hole of the 2010 US Senior PGA Championship in Parker, Colorado, today.
While Lehman started the sudden death playoff with a solid shot down the middle, Couples and Frost followed with terrible tee shots that set them up for double bogeys.
“That was just a bizarre playoff,” Lehman said. “I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced anything like that. I turned to my caddie and I said, ‘How many shots have they taken?'”
Sitting in the clubhouse watching all the drama must have been a very satisfied Aussie golfer in Peter Senior.
The US senior tour rookie recovered from a slow start to the tournament to record a final round two under par 70 to finish tied for 11th place.
Senior began the fourth round with a bogey on the par five first but fought back to post three birdies on the difficult Colorado Golf Club course.
Lehman, who finished at seven under for the tournament, was the only player in the 155 man field to beat par on each of the four rounds.
The 51 year old is known for his steady golf. The win was his first individual Champions Tour victory but his fifth top five performance in just six starts on the tour.
“The course requires a lot of patience,” Lehman said. “It’s a very strategic course. One of the reasons why I like it so much. There’s so many options and decisions you have to make, and I really believe that it gives you the ability to really go for it as much as you want to or not.”
His much flashier opponent, Fred Couples, who has been ruling the roost in his rookie Champions tour season, wasn’t so happy as he left the course.
Back to back eagles on 15 and 16 gave him a big chance to win the tour’s first major of the year outright but his eight foot birdie attempt on the 18th missed by an inch.
His playoff hole drive was credited as his only bad tee shot of the week. It veered left off the tee into the shrubs, forcing him to take a drop, and to end with a six for the hole.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” was all he would say as he quickly exited the course.
Mark O’Meara (71) finished fourth, while Nick Price (70) was fifth and Larry Mize (70) and Bill Glasson (71) tied for sixth at 3 under.
Senior, finishing on one under, tied with defending champion Michael Allen (73), his fellow American Chip Beck (74) and Taiwan’s Chien Soon Lu (74).
Mike Harwood in 77th position was the only other Australian to make the cut.