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May 6, 2012

Tom Lehman


PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Tom, you shoot a final round 68 and finish at 203, 13‑under, one shot back of Fred, maybe a few general thoughts and take us down the stretch if you can.
TOM LEHMAN:  Well, you know, I played really well today.  I was really proud of the way I played.  I enjoyed my pairing a lot.  Fred is a wonderful person, so it was fun being out with those guys.
I never really hit‑‑ I hit one bad shot, I hit a bad shot on the first hole, a wedge, after I hit a tee shot into a divot.  Other than that, I hit just good shot after good shot after good shot, and really felt in control of my game and rolled the ball pretty nicely, and hit some good putts that didn't go in.  Especially the putt on 18.
So you know, very disappointed, I have to be honest with you, I haven't been this disappointed after a tournament in a long time.  I'm equally happy for Fred and proud of the way he played and the way he finished, and equally disappointed for myself for just feeling like I played well and didn't get the W.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Can you talk about 18 and what you hit in.
TOM LEHMAN:  The whole tournament turned on 15, I hit a good tee shot and good second just off the back edge.  And hit two pretty good putts, but missed about a 7‑footer for birdie.
Then Fred made birdie and he birdied the next and he birdied 18.  You know, really I think the 17th hole, I had a good yardage and a good 8‑iron and the wind gusted a hair and came up 30 feet short and hit a good putt on the right edge.
18, had a 7‑iron 157, he's already in there for a kick‑in obviously, so made my job a little bit easier, just take dead aim and hit a really beautiful‑looking shot that I thought was going to be a lot closer actually.  Looked to me when it was in the air that it was going to be close to Fred but ended up 12 feet.  Hit just an absolutely perfect putt.
But just the right edge of the hole, halfway to the hole, hit a ball mark that was my line and rolled right over and bounced it right off line a little bit, and broke back again.
And the cup, I'm not sure what happened to the cup, the cup had a bunch of junk on the right edge and went right over the top of this‑‑ maybe I should have had an official looked at it before I putted, because I think it kept it out of the hole.  Some kind of damage to the lip, rolled over and looked like it couldn't miss and it did.
I have to say that my disappointment all comes from having hit the best putt I could hit on 18 and not having it go in.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Can you tell us your first putt on 18, how far?
TOM LEHMAN:  About 50 feet.  It was front left, I was over the back right of the green on the fringe, 50 feet from the hole and I hit a nice putt down the hill, probably a little less speed, would have had a chance going in, seven feet by and misread that one and missed it.  I made most of those six‑ and seven‑footers all week and that one I didn't.  It was a well played hole and there you have it.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Before we go to questions, your birdies at 12, 13, 14, what did you hit in and how long?
TOM LEHMAN:  Starting at 10, I had 149 and just hit a perfect 9‑iron just right dead at it and it buried in the lip of the bunker and I was shocked that it didn't carry the bunker and so I made bogey there.
Then 12, I hit a wedge to about eight feet and made that putt.
Then the par5, I hit in the bunker off the tee and hit a wedge to 12 or 14 feet.
The par3, 14, hit a beautiful 6‑iron to maybe five feet just short of the hole.  Made that.  Fred I think birdied four of the last five holes.

Q.  I watched you play the last three holes, on 18 and 16, you went at the flag but came up short, were you in‑between clubs or one of those things?
TOM LEHMAN:  I thought the yardage on 18 was a good one.  It was a really solid 7‑iron, I had 157 to that pin and if I miss it a hair, it was going to get wet; but if I hit it solid I could get close.  I hit it very solid but I think the wind gusted just enough to hold it up short of the hole.
Execution in golf is all you can ask for really, when you can actually hit the shots that you want to hit and just don't quite pan out, you can at least walk away knowing that the pressure is on; I executed the shots and didn't knuckle under and did what I had to do but just somebody did a little bit more.
Golf is a game of breaks sometimes.  Fred hit a shot on the par3 14, that hit straight off the edge of the bunker sideways to two feet and made birdie and that got him going.  If he would not have made that birdie, he would have been three back but that little bounce across the green to the pin helped him out and tapped it in.  And from that point on, I sensed from him that he had some wind in his sails then when I gave him that opening on 15 by not making birdie, he jumped all over it.
That's the one thing about really good players that they take advantage of mistakes.  I didn't make many mistakes this week but he took advantage of it and ran with it.

Q.  The front nine, you weren't making a whole lot of birdies; is that what the course was giving you?
TOM LEHMAN:  There were some tough pins and the wind was gusty.  It's a good golf course, especially when you start tucking the pins, it's not easy.  You put the pin on the little corners of the greens where they are skinny and narrow, it's tough to get them close.  Downwind, pin is in the front, hard to get it close, like the 7th hole,8th hole, 221 yards or whatever it is, it's hard to get it that close.  It's not easy.
So I was happy with 2‑under on the front nine and I was unhappy with the bogey on 10, especially when you hit good shots, you think it's perfect in the air; it's not very often that I get fooled like that, where I hit a shot, and that's perfect and just waiting for the thing to hit by the hole and the crowd to start clapping, and it buries in the lip.  It was shocking because it was ten yards short.  Doesn't happen very often.

Q.  You said it was about as hard of one to take as you've had in a while; the fact that you didn't make mistakes down the stretch, and yet‑‑
TOM LEHMAN:  You know, I'm disappointed that I didn't birdie 15.  Like I say, it was no gimmie but 18‑‑ you practice and you work so you can gain confidence in parts of your game that you consider to be the weakest so that when the pressure is on you can execute.
Obviously putting has always been the part of my game that's been the shakiest with pressure on.  Not that it's shaky putting but it's just I'm better hitting a tee shot than I am at making a putt.
To step up and just stroke it the way you want to and hit your line the way you want to and everything, that's what disappoints me.  It's hard to swallow hitting good putts that don't go in, especially under pressure.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Thank you very much.

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