Lehman goes wire-to-wire in Illinois

 

The Sports Network

Glenview, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Tom Lehman birdied the final hole on Sunday to win the Encompass Championship by one stroke.

Lehman closed with a 2-under 70 to finish at 15-under-par 201. His total of 201 established a new tournament scoring record. Last year's winner Craig Stadler posted 203 in his victory.

"It's been a while and I haven't even been all that close either. It hasn't been like I've been throwing a bunch away. I haven't really been in the hunt," stated Lehman, who won for the eighth time on the Champions Tour. "Today was a rough start. I hit the ball pretty well on the front nine. I didn't take any advantage of any of the good shots I hit so I kind of put myself in a little bit of a bind. But it was a good finish. Kirk (Triplett) played really well. It was probably beneficial playing with him. He's a great guy and fun to play with and he played really well. It was a real challenge."

Michael Allen shot 5-under 67 to join Triplett in second place at minus-14. Triplett closed with a 68 to end one stroke back at North Shore Country Club.

Doug Garwood (66) finished alone in fourth at 13-under 203, while Bart Bryant (69) was one stroke back at minus-12.

Lehman led after the second round was completed earlier on Sunday. He started his round with 11 straight pars and fell from the lead.

The 55-year-old made birdie on the par-3 12th, but followed with bogeys on 13 and 14 to slide to minus-12.

Lehman got those strokes right back as he birdied the 15th and 16th. Those birdies gave him a share of the lead at minus-14, and he wasn't finished.

After a par on No. 17, Lehman rolled in a 12-foot birdie try at the last to secure the title.

Triplett got going with a birdie on the first and he came back with another birdie on the par-5 sixth. After six straight pars around the turn, Triplett birdied the 13th and 16th to move to 14-under. However, he parred the last two holes to end one back.

"All week, you kind of feel like it's going to be about 15-under to win and 15-under wins. I wasn't really trying to watch (the other guys). I could see what was happening on the leaderboard and it just looked like 15-under was going to win the golf tournament," Triplett said. "So I had some chances on the back nine, missed a couple, but made a couple. Played a nice round and hit two really good shots on 18. I had a pretty tough putt coming down that hill to keep it on line."

Allen, who was a group ahead of Lehman and Triplett, birdied two of the first three holes to move to minus-11. He carded another birdie on No. 8 before making four pars in a row from the ninth.

The 2009 Senior PGA Champion stumbled to a bogey on the 13th, but he flew up the leaderboard with three birdies over the final four holes. He was the first to post 14-under, but it wasn't enough in the end.

NOTES: Lehman collected $270,000 for the win ... Lehman joined Allen (Allianz Championship) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (Greater Gwinnett Championship) as the three players that have won in wire-to-wire fashion this year on the Champions Tour ... Bernhard Langer's run of 20 straight top-10 finishes ended as he shared 20th place ... The Champions Tour heads to Pittsburgh for its next major championship, the Constellation Senior Players Championship, where Kenny Perry won last.

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