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Shhh! Tom Lehman enters Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am on hot streak

LUTZ — Tom Lehman has played in four Champions Tour events this season.

He has won twice and finished second once. All 12 rounds have been in the 60s, and Lehman is a combined 58 under.

And he would rather you not bring it up, thank you very much.

"That's always the kiss of death," he said. "They talked about that at The Players Championship, where I had a streak of not hitting the ball in the water for like 22 years. The next year, I hit it in the water."

But facts are facts. If there was a favorite for this weekend's Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am, it would have to be Lehman. Including his two PGA events this season, Lehman has shot in the 70s in only three of 20 rounds. And his highest score all year is 72 at the Phoenix Open in February.

Lehman, 52, was in Sunday's final group at the 2009 Transitions Championship in Palm Harbor but shot 75. His only start at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am was last year, when he tied for 44th.

"I feel really good about the way I've been playing the last three or four years," Lehman said. "Last year, I thought I played extremely well. I just didn't quite get the results. It was just a little bit here and there. So far this year, those little things are going my way."

Speaking of hot: And then there's Nick Price, who is just about as hot as Lehman. Price has nine straight rounds in the 60s, including a 60 in the first round of the Toshiba Classic on March 11. Price, 54, has four top-three finishes among six Champions Tour tournaments.

He also has experience at TPC Tampa Bay. Price won the 2009 tournament, and since then, he has won three more times on the Champions Tour. While Price has played well, he said he hasn't played enough. He's looking forward to playing more over the next two months.

"If I was still on the regular tour, I would've played seven times in the last nine weeks," Price said. "But I've only played four (in the last nine weeks) on our tour. It's been a little frustrating. Golf is momentum and getting on a roll. At least for me it is."

Price said he never thought he'd want to play more golf in his mid 50s.

"If someone had told me at 34 that I'd be having as much fun playing golf as I am now, I would say no way," Price said. "I'm enjoying playing golf now as much as I ever have."

Field change: Ex-Rays first baseman Fred McGriff was added to the celebrity field after country singer Vince Gill withdrew Wednesday. Gill's publicist did not give a reason for the withdrawal. That leaves a very athlete heavy celebrity field. Only Craig T. Nelson (actor), John O'Hurley (actor), Stone Phillips (newscaster) and Joe Don Rooney (singer) are non-athletes.

Making an appearance: Actor Michael J. Fox will not play due to shoulder surgery but will be make an appearance. At 11 a.m., Fox will ride in a cart with Kenny Perry's group. At 12:45 p.m., he will ride with Tim Simpson's group. This is the third year Fox has appeared at the tournament.

Shhh! Tom Lehman enters Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am on hot streak 04/14/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011 7:18pm]
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