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Transitions Championship news and notes

Tom Lehman reacts after 
the ball pops out of the cup 
on par-3 No. 4. He made par.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Tom Lehman reacts after the ball pops out of the cup on par-3 No. 4. He made par.

Final round that kind of day for Lehman

PALM HARBOR — For Tom Lehman, a pair of bogeys led to a double-whammy Sunday.

He entered the final round at 8 under, with a one-stroke lead. But the 50-year-old Minnesotan bogeyed the eighth and ninth holes and never recovered, finishing 4 over and tied for eighth at 4-under 280.

But Lehman also needed to finish at least in a three-way tie for seventh or better to be upgraded from a minor medical extension for tendinitis to a major medical extension. Now he'll need to rely on a one-time exemption — the result of being a top 25 career money winner — to qualify for some 2009 events.

"It was double jeopardy to get the negative result for the tournament and then to miss the top seven," he said. "So I'm not pleased. I actually didn't think I played that poorly (Sunday). I hit two bad shots that cost me three shots. And then I hit some good shots and ended up in awkward positions. … Anyway, it was painful."

Especially on No. 9, when he put his tee shot in the rough. "I tried to hit a hard hook up the gap, and the thing came up dead straight out of the rough and ended up in a bad spot. You can't recover from that."

Local troubles

Woody Austin was tied for 16th at 3 under through six holes. But in the end, it was the same old story for the Tampa native. His hopes for his first finish inside the top 30 on the Copperhead leader­board in eight tries went by the wayside. He wound up 3 over for the day and 1 over for the tournament, slipping into a tie for 33rd. Tampa's Ryuji Imada shot 1 over and finished at 4-over 288, tied for 46th. Palm Harbor's John Huston shot 6-over 77 for 5-over 289, tied for 52nd.

Good transition

There were no attendance numbers issued, but officials said that based on anecdotal evidence — the number of cars in the parking lots, number of pairing sheets distributed and depth of the galleries — they believe it was the biggest crowd in the event's nine-year PGA history. "The feedback we got from everybody — the players, caddies, fans and media — went beyond our expectations. We were extremely happy," said Brett Craig, president of Transitions Optical.

Around the course

Kevin Na and Bo Van Pelt came on strong to tie for eighth at 4 under. Van Pelt, tied for 43rd after three rounds, had the best round of the day, 5-under 66, and Na, tied for 32nd on Saturday, was right behind him at 67. … Brett Quigley is 0-for-342 in his 13 years on the PGA Tour. … Alvaro Quiros had eight drives of more than 300 yards in the final round, including one at 325 yards when he tried to clear the water on the 12th hole, and barely did. Still, he closed with 72—289.

Next up, Bay Hill

Looking for a chance to catch Tiger Woods in person? He will compete this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando — an event he won last year. Pro-ams are slated for today and Wednesday. For information, go to arnoldpalmerinvitational.com or call 1-866-764-4843.

Dave Scheiber, Times staff writer

Transitions Championship news and notes 03/22/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 22, 2009 10:21pm]

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