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Tom Lehman shed 'tears of joy' as he plays final Open at Royal Portrush

Tom Lehman before his first tee shot on day two at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush (Niall Carson/PA)
Tom Lehman before his first tee shot on day two at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush (Niall Carson/PA)

By Carl Markham

Former champion Tom Lehman fought back the tears as he walked down the 18th fairway at Royal Portrush for what is likely to be his last Open Championship.

Lehman was a winner at Lytham in 1996 but now he is 60 his exemption expires and if he wants to return he will have to qualify.

His score - 12 over after adding 76 to his opening 78 - was irrelevant as the American soaked up the atmosphere and appreciation.

"There was emotion for sure. You don't really know how you're going to react to the last thing of something and this one was very sweet and joyful," he said.

"It was more emotional than I thought it would be. It was more. I did everything in my power not to start bawling walking down the 18th fairway.

"I didn't totally succeed but I mostly succeeded. Tears of joy."

Lehman was asked about his prospects of qualifying for future Opens.

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"I could still win a Senior Open. I told my wife if I could write the perfect script and play one more, I'd win so I could play St Andrews in two years."

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