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Lehman, Azinger join The First Tee Open Field

By JERRY STEWART
Herald Correspondent

Posted: 08/25/2010 01:54:26 AM PDT

The field for next week’s Champions Tour Home Care and Hospice First Tee Open at Pebble Beach continues to take shape. Among those joining the 78-man professional field within the last week include 2010 Senior PGA Championship winner Tom Lehman and 2008 winning Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger. Also getting in via sponsor’s exemptions were eight-time PGA Tour winner Jerry Pate and 1988 Masters champ Sandy Lyle.

Lehman, who finished tied for 14th at this year’s British Open, was in the hunt at the recent Jeld-Wen Tradition prior to a final round 73.

Azinger, a former AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am winner who’ll be making his First Tee Open debut, has released a book, ‘Cracking the Code’, that details the strategies used for the 2008 Ryder Cup.

The quartet will join fellow Champions Tour members Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin and two-time defending champion Jeff Sluman, among others, for the three-day tournament (Sept. 3-5) at Del Monte Golf Course and 2010 U.S. Open host Pebble Beach Golf Links.

One of the most unique golf events on the tour, the First Tee Open features 78 pros playing side-by-side with 78 of the best juniors in the nation. Play both Friday and Saturday will be held at both Del Monte and Pebble Beach, with Sunday’s final round to be held at Pebble. For the first time, admission to the event is free this year.

The tournament showcases The First Tee, an initiative of the World Golf Foundation which provides young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop life-enhancing values through golf and character education.

Funk-y town

Fred Funk, who’s also set to play in The First Tee Open, may want to play Pebble Beach often as he can.

The First Tee Open will mark the fourth straight time that Funk will arrive at Pebble as the current defending champion of a major. In 2008, he came to The First Tee Open as the Jeld-Wen champ. In 2009, he arrived at the FTO as the U.S. Senior Open champ. This year, he played the U.S. Open at Pebble as U.S. Senior Open champ and he recently again won the Jeld-Wen.

The only player on either tour who can match/better Funk’s arriving at Pebble as a major champ streak is Tiger Woods (2000-2003).

Marshals/Scorers: Volunteers for marshals and walking scorers positions for The First Tee Open are still needed. Being golf knowledgeable is preferred. Those interested can register at www.thefirstteeopen.com.

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