- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2009

From combined dispatches

PALM HARBOR, Fla. | Two weeks after turning 50, former Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman looked like his old self Saturday in the Transitions Championship with a 3-under 68 for his first 54-hole lead in more than four years.

Lehman ran off four straight birdies and shot 31 on the back nine at Innisbrook to take a one-shot lead on Retief Goosen. On Sunday, Lehman will try to become only the seventh player in his 50s to win on the PGA Tour.

Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open champion, kept his composure on firm, crusty greens usually only seen in June. The greens were brown in spots and hard all over, reminding him of Shinnecock Hills in 2004 when he won his second major.

Lehman, who was at 8-under 205, missed five months last year with tendinitis and missed the cut in his first four starts this year before a tie for 49th against a weak field in Mexico last month.

“I really enjoyed myself today,” Lehman said. “The front nine was a comedy of errors. On the back nine, things got going.”

The highlight of his birdie streak came at the par-3 13th, a tee shot over the water and onto a putting surface that is so hard the ball kicks up dry soil when it lands. The ball stopped inside a foot away for the easiest birdie he had all day.

The last time Lehman was atop the leader board after 54 holes was in the fog-delayed Buick Invitational in 2005, when he finished in a tie for second behind Tiger Woods.

Winning this event might be just as difficult - partly because of the tough Copperhead Course, and partly because of the cast of challengers who are chasing him.

Ochoa slips from lead

HUIXQUILUCAN, Mexico | Taiwan’s Yani Tseng shot a 3-under 69 for a share of the second-round lead with South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi in the Mastercard Classic, leaving top-ranked Mexican star Lorena Ochoa a stroke back.

Choi had a 73 to match the second-ranked Tseng at 7-under 137 on the BosqueReal Country Club course. Ochoa, the first-round leader after a 65, shot a 73 to drop into a tie for third with Pat Hurst (70) with one round left.

Goya moves ahead

PORTO SANTO, Madeira Islands | Estanislao Goya of Argentina shot a 2-under 69 to take a three-stroke lead after three rounds of the Madeira Islands Open.

He was at 8-under 205 entering the final round, the only golfer under par in each round.

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