Lehman aiming for links double at The Senior Open
Tom Lehman enjoyed the finest moment of his career on ‘England’s Golf Coast’ and now the American is hungry for more success as he prepares to return to the area for this year’s Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex.
Lehman won The 1996 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes and he will be aiming to capture the senior version of the Claret Jug just a few miles down England’s north-west coastline when the Championship visits Royal Birkdale Golf Club for the first time, from July 25-28.
The 2006 United States Ryder Cup Captain will be part a cast of Major Champions playing in the 27th edition of The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, along with iconic names such as defending champion Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam.
Lehman, who won the 2010 US Senior PGA Championship, finished tied tenth in last year’s Senior Open Championship at Turnberry, but he hopes Royal Birkdale’s challenging links can inspire him to success this summer.
“It will be nice to go back to the north west of England,” said Lehman. “There are a whole bunch of courses right along that coastline that are spectacular, but they are all different. Lytham is much flatter and you have to avoid those 206 bunkers. Royal Birkdale brings the slopes, the bumps and the humps more into play, and the tall grass. It is a different look and it is one that everyone likes.”
He added: “It would be a nice double to get the Senior Open alongside my Open Championship. I’ve not really come close the last couple of years. That’s a little frustrating. I’ve not been on my game in any of the years I have played in the Senior Open so far, so hopefully that will change.”
After winning the US Champions Tour Money List and Player of the Year Award in 2011, and the Charles Schwab Cup last year, Lehman is now targeting another Senior Major to add to his glittering CV.
“Any Major is a big target,” he said. “I’ve also yet to win the US Senior Open, and the bigger the tournament you win, the happier you are. I can’t think of any better ones than the US Senior Open and the Senior Open.
“When you play courses like we play, that really helps attract top fields. When you get the chance to play a Turnberry, or a Carnoustie, or a Birkdale, those are the best of the best. It is great when you can play competitions there.
“Royal Birkdale is a great course, with amazing dunes. Every links course is a little bit different, and a little bit the same. This one has a bit more drama with all the stuff going on around the holes.
“You are playing into a lot of valleys