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April 3, 2011

Tom Lehman


DAVE SENKO: Tom, congratulations. Win No. 2 this year and also your fourth on the Championships Tour, and 240,000 as well as 240 points in the Charles Schwab Cup race; and you opened up a 200-plus point lead in that category. But maybe just share your thoughts on your second win this year.
TOM LEHMAN: Well, it was hard-earned. As nice as yesterday was, today was rugged with the wind the way it was blowing.
You know, I thought some of those holes, especially the front nine going out against the wind, were really difficult. And certainly quite happy with the way I played, considering that the wind was a real factor.
You know, I thought Sluman played really well today. I thought Frosty did as well, and it's just really hard to shoot a really low round with the winds blowing. I think we talked about that last night how if the wind was blowing, it's going to make it more difficult for somebody to go low and how it could probably work in my favor, and it did. So I'm very pleased.

Q. You started with a bogey at 1, and then you had five birdies and a bogey at 8.
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah. Bogeyed the first and last holes. You know, on that first hole I hit a good drive and hit a layup with a 3-wood and pushed it into that bunker, and I hit it over the green and made a routine bogey. So not a good way to start considering the next couple holes we were playing, very difficult.
But I made two really good pars, which I think were really keys to the round, quite frankly. Then made a birdie on 4 to get me back to even par for the day. And then hit a really good 3-wood and a 9-iron to about maybe 15 feet, made the putt.
The next birdie came on No. 6. Hit a great drive, hit a 6-iron and hit a beautiful putt from about 25 feet that just stopped just short. So I tapped in for birdie.
8 hole, the par-3, hit a beautiful-looking 8-iron there right at the flag to about maybe seven or eight feet. Made that. And then 11, nice rescue off the tee and then a pitching wedge from 138 to about maybe 6 feet, made that putt.
Then the par-5, 14 -- 13. 13. Yeah, a really good tee shot there again. A rescue that didn't quite get up into the green. So I had about a 90-foot putt. Made a really good two-putt for birdie there.
Then the rest of the way just kind of steady as she goes. The last hole a little bit on the commercial side and keeping it way, way right. But, oh, well, made bogey there with -- kind of once I saw Slu get in trouble off the tee, you know, my focus definitely kind of let down. I kind of knew that it was pretty much over. So making a bogey was never fun, but it was effective. And I kept my round in the 60s, I guess, for the twelfth round in a row, so that feels good.

Q. How important was it to have a little cushion going into that because 17 and 18 were just playing so tough?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah. I was really hoping to make a couple putts on 15 and 16. I think I had a four-shot lead, and you know, really wanted to have more, as I hit good shots and good putts. Just didn't make 'em. You know, because you're right, the 17th hole is tough. If you hit a bad tee shot, get in the wrong spot in the bunker or whatever, you can make a big number in a hurry.
And 18 was just no bargaining with the wind blowing the way it was. So I was hoping to get a bigger lead, and then Slu made that long putt on 17, which I thought made things interesting. I lagged it up there about five feet short, and then he made it. So suddenly a four-shot lead could have been two.
And I made a really nice putt there for par and then he hit a poor tee shot on 18 behind the tree. So that was tough for him.

Q. Similarly, when you make the turn, you've got that cushion with the conditions and everything. How important was that to how you were able to set up the rest of the day?
TOM LEHMAN: I really thought the back nine has more opportunities. So you know, I'm basically thinking even if somebody did start making a run, that I get to play the same holes and there are some real birdie opportunities.
So I felt comfortable with the lead that I had at 9. I felt comfortable even if somebody would have made two or three or four birdies on the back nine, because I thought I had the same chances.
But you know, it's hard in the wind to play 18 good holes. I think there were some really good rounds today. Nobody took it super low.

Q. Tom, we've been watching you for all these years. Your swing never seems to change any. Who taught it to you, and have you ever had to adjust it at all?
TOM LEHMAN: Well, my dad gave me the fundamentals, the grip and the posture and the position, you know. He always talked about making sure you turn your shoulders. But he wasn't a real technical golfer. So I basically learned the swing on my own, getting the basics and then hitting shots.
I would say the biggest -- I have had two teachers since then. I had Les Bolstad, who was a legend in Minnesota, and then Jim Flick over the last 20 years. And I think the main thing, Les kind of got me on the right path with my swing, and then Jim kind of kept me there.
You know, and I've always lived by the philosophy that you find what you do well and then perfect it. What I have done well is draw the ball, and so every teacher I ever had, every lesson I ever had I always said don't ever, ever, ever try to get me to do anything where I can't draw the ball. If you think I hook it too much, then make it less high or something, but I always want to hook it.
And I was telling Jim this, if you ever try to get me to hit it left or right, I'm dropping you like a bad habit. You know, we're done. So obviously he never ever pushed that, never even tried to go there. He simply just helped me, you know, work through my swing issues until I could fix them in the middle of a round and then always, always keeping my path of my swing in such a way that I could hit a draw.

Q. Tom, you're two for two on the Gulf Coast. Were you thinking about that when you came here this week?
TOM LEHMAN: No. Actually I wasn't. You know, I did think that the last time I was down here playing at Gulf Port, you know, I won.
And you know, going into this week I was playing well and had a good week last week. So I really expected to have a good week. I expected to play well. You don't ever predict a victory. But I did feel that, knowing the golf course is a good course, that it would probably fit my style of play. A lot of the guys out here have been telling me for a year, you need to go there and play, you'll love the course. It's really good for you, and I think they were right.

Q. Did you ever play Hattiesburg back in the day?
TOM LEHMAN: You know, I may have played there -- yeah. You know, I played there once. It was a long time ago. Probably in the early to mid 80s. Very poorly. Yeah. Yeah, sure. I mean the fact that I can't remember must not have been a very memorable week.

Q. You played the Viking up in Madison?
TOM LEHMAN: Oh, I never played there. I did play TOUR School a number of times in -- where did I play, Annandale, not Annandale. Deerfield? Where is that at?
Yeah. Yeah. Tough course. Good course. Yeah, I remember playing there a couple times and making it a couple times. So you know, I've had luck down here. All right. Thank you very much.

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