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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

66 at Mercedes Places Lehman in Driver's Seat

CARLSBAD, California -- So what's with Tom Lehman, anyway?


Last year on the PGA Tour, the sturdy Minnesota native won the British Open, won more money than anybody else, shot lower scores than anyone else and still looked strong enough to dig lake No. 10,001 using nothing but a sand wedge.


And there was Lehman on the first day of the first tournament of 1997, neatly tying the laces on his spikes at La Costa and then walking all over the place with an opening 66 that was worth a one-shot lead in the Mercedes Championships.


Somebody show this guy a calendar.


At least Lehman knew how to explain his six-under-par round that included a 31 on the back.


"I hit the ball adequately," he said.


Clearly a player who uses few words off the course and few strokes on it, Lehman produced a five-birdie back nine at rain-softened La Costa and found himself a step ahead of Paul Goydos and Jim Furyk, each of whom shot 67.


Justin Leonard, Fred Couples and Guy Boros are three shots behind Lehman, and Tiger Woods is in a group of eight at 70, two under. Tom Watson, Corey Pavin and Steve Jones are also in that group.


Woods had a birdie on the front nine when he chipped in from 25 feet after missing the green on the par-3 third hole, eagled the 12th, then bogeyed the par-4 15th when he three-putted.


David Ogrin, Woods' playing partner, was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. He failed to mark his ball properly on the 14th and should have had a penalty.


Other than that, it was sort of an uneventful round for Woods, if you don't count the usual crowd of doting fans or the phalanx of reporters who walked inside the ropes, within notebook-and-pen distance.


Right now, it's not going too badly for Lehman either. He is virtually certain to be named PGA Tour player of the year, and that ought to go along nicely with the money title and the Vardon trophy he won for the scoring title.


Leonard, who was paired with Lehman, kept the pressure on his playing partner. But Leonard couldn't resist telling Lehman a joke at the 15th hole. "It was a clean joke," Leonard said. "It took me 15 holes to think of one."