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Church opens its doors to pro golfer



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Lehman (click for larger version)
July 18, 2012 - Christ the King Church opened its doors last week to a famous professional golfer who played in the 2012 U.S. Senior Open held at Orion's Indianwood Golf and Country Club.

Tom Lehman, a pro golfer since 1982 and winner of the 1996 British Open, needed a place to practice his faith and the Oxford Township church was more than happy to oblige him July 12.

"His wife had called us and (asked if) a few of them could come over and have a Bible study, a little prayer meeting," said Pastor Bob Holt, of Oxford. "I really don't know how they chose us. They said we were recommended. I don't know who recommended us."

Lehman, a 53-year-old born-again Christian, tied for second place with three other golfers at the Senior Open. During the tournament, he shot 70, 66, 68, and 68 for a combined score of 272.

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"It was kind of a neat thing to have him, for whatever reason, choose our place," Holt said. "We were glad to accommodate him. We just felt happy to do it."

Lehman was the first golfer in history to be awarded the "Player of the Year" honor on all three PGA tours – the regular PGA Tour (1996), the Nationwide Tour (1991) and the Champions Tour (2011).

"I didn't realize this, but apparently, Tom Lehman is a very dedicated Christian man," Holt noted. "I went to his website, checked it all out and he makes a profession of faith there."

Lehman was the winner of the 2010 Senior PGA Championship.

Originally, there was a rumor going around that all the pro golfers from the Senior Open met at the church, located at 1550 W. Drahner Rd., for a prayer meeting. But Holt indicated that simply wasn't true.

"I know Tom Lehman was there," he said. "I think there might have been one or two other players. It was mostly people associated with him somehow, an entourage . . . There was maybe 40 people there. It wasn't all pros, that's for sure . . . There were as many ladies as there were men and there were some kids, too."

"I heard one of the guys – he must be a player – say, 'Well, I've got to get going. I've got an early tee-off time tomorrow. But I don't know who he was," Holt added.

At the end of the Bible study session, Holt got the opportunity to meet Lehman. "We talked for a couple minutes," he said. "He appreciated us letting him use our facility . . . He didn't say too much. He was pretty tired. He looked like he was ready to get back to wherever he was staying and get some rest."

Holt spent some time last week working as a volunteer at the Senior Open. He helped handle parking for spectators.

"It was supposed to be two or three hours a day and you have access to the tournament," he said. "Well, it turned into a little more than that. We were over there six or seven hours.

"Friendship Park at Baldwin and Clarkston (roads) – that whole park (was) completely filled with cars and so (was) the one over at Orion Oaks Elementary at Clarkston and Joslyn (roads)."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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