Las Vegas — Tom Lehman would love nothing better than to return to the days when he was a contender every time he teed it up and the only question was how many major championships he might end up winning.
Those days ended when Lehman stopped making putts, and it's now been nearly five years since he won a tournament of any kind.
But after taking the third-round lead in the Michelin Championship at Las Vegas, Lehman allowed himself time to think about what still could be if he could find a way to win once again.
"It would be gratifying. It would renew my belief in myself," Lehman said. "I think I'm that kind of player, but after the last few years it's kind of slipped away from me."
Lehman, using a long putter he put back in his bag only last month, shot a 66 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Dicky Pride and Andre Stolz. Seven other players were another shot back on a day when the wind picked up in the afternoon to hold down scoring.
Lehman took advantage of his morning tee time to hit 17 greens, but it was his putting that helped him make eight birdies for his first 54-hole lead in five years.
"The putting has been the thing that has been just driving me crazy the last three years," Lehman said. "I've been hitting it basically well and, at times, very well with nothing to show for it."
Lehman had plenty to show after his third round in the 60s put him at 17 under and in the final pairing on a Sunday for the first time since the Buick Open in 1999.