Lehman is Champions Tour player of the year
For nearly 30 years, Alexandria native Tom Lehman has been quietly going about his career as a professional golfer, collecting honors and titles over the course of his career.
And now, the former University of Minnesota golfer has done what no other player ever has.
After finishing as the Charles Schwab Cup point champion, Lehman was named the 2011 Champions Tour Player of the Year, making him the first player to win Player of the Year awards on all three major tours associated with the PGA - the Nationwide, the PGA and the Champions.
Lehman had to hold off Mark Calcavecchia in the final tournament on the 50-and-older Champions Tour for the points title, winning by a narrow 74-point margin.
In 1991, Lehman was the Player of the Year on the Hogan Tour, now named the Nationwide Tour, then added the PGA Tour title in 1996.
Lehman, a 1977 graduate of Jefferson High School who now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, was the only player on the Champions Tour to break the $2 million mark in single-season earnings for 2011 with a personal-best $2,081,526.
And all this from a man who nearly walked away from his golf career.
After turning professional in 1982, Lehman struggled for several years, losing his PGA Tour card three consecutive years. He began playing mini tours in 1986 and in 1990, joined the PGA's new minor league tour - the Ben Hogan. From there his career began to climb.
Lehman is a fan favorite who, along with his most recent titles on the Champions Tour, has five PGA tour victories and four international wins, including the prestigious British Open, which he won in 1996.
He's been a three-time member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team and captained the squad in 2006. He's also been a three-time member of the Presidents Cup team.
Lehman may have a chance to defend his title in 2012 in his current home state with the 2012 Charles Schwab Cup Championships being played at Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale on November 1-4.
Tom Lehman and John Cook each won three times in 2011, the most wins by an individual player on last year's Champions Tour.
In the Charles Schwab Cup race, Lehman took the lead from Cook for good after he won the second official event of the year at the Allianz Championship. It marks the earliest point that a player has taken the lead and held it throughout the remainder of the campaign.
Lehman was the only player to surpass the $2 million mark in single season earnings in 2011. It marked the first time a player was the leading money-winner on all three Tours.
Lehman won the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic with a tournament-record low of 16-under-par 200.
Three different players, including Lehman, had the best birdie streak of six in a row. Lehman had his streak in the third round of the Senior PGA Championship.