Tom Lehman/ Chris Condon/PGA Tour
Triumphant Tom Lehman became the first ever back-to-back winner of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, with a final round of -5 under par 65 and a tournament total of -22 under par, six shots clear of his nearest rival. In doing so Tom also picked up the Charles Schwab Cup, the season long points race, coming into the tournament Bernhard Langer was leading that points race, that was until Tom blitzed the Desert Mountain Cochise Course. Tom’s spectacular performance included a 47 hole bogey free run from the back of the 1st round to the turn of the 4th and final round. Tom needed to win this tournament, to have a chance of winning the season long title race, he did, and admits this is a dream come true week;
“ There’s a lot of times in this world where you need to play well and you don’t. This is one of those weeks where I needed to and I did. All in all, it’s a bit of a dream-come-true week.”
Tom’s longtime teacher and mentor Jim Flick is battling terminal pancreatic cancer, Tom spoke to Jim briefly before the last round on Sunday. Jim had some special words of wisdom for him;
”Be Tom Lehman.”
Tom recalled the many times he and Jim had spent time together on the driving range at the Renegade Course at Desert Mountain;
“We probably spent half an hour just back there hitting shots, those are the kind of things you think about. But the more I thought about that, the more teary-eyed I would get. I decided I can’t play this round of golf with tears in my eyes. I have to wait until business was finished. The last hole, I know that he was probably watching today. I felt quite certain that was probably the last driver he was ever going to see me hit and I wanted to make it a good one. And the last 7-iron he will ever see me hit, and I wanted to make that a good one. And the last putt, I wanted to make that putt.”
When it was all over and Tom had secured victory, he had a few moments alone with his head pushed deeply into his white Taylot-Made hat, before being surrounded by family and fellow professionals.
In the tournament, Jay Haas finished in second place alone, after a last round of -1 under par, and a total of -16 under par. Third spot was occupied by Jay Don Blake with his final round of -4 under par, and finishing total of -14 under par. The two Fred’s, Couples and Funk were tied in fourth, Couples suffering a last round of +3 over par 73, to dash any hopes he had of victory. Fred Funk had a better last round, -5 under par, but he never got going in the first round, slumping to +1 over par effort. Bernhard Langer was ruing his par round of 70 on the third day of play, it cost him victory here.