Shooting won't deter Lehman

2006-04-06 09:19
Augusta - US Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman will start the 70th Masters on Thursday despite a drive-by shooting incident on a highway for which an Augusta man was arrested, the Augusta Chronicle reported.

Lehman, the 1996 British Open champion, was unharmed in the incident, which he told police began as he drove to Augusta's airport on Tuesday night to pick up his son, the newspaper reported.

Driving alone in a courtesy vehicle given to Masters participants for the week, Lehman missed an exit off Bobby Jones Expressway, turned around in a median and was in the right lane when a vehicle sped past, police said.

Lehman said he heard a blast and discovered a bullet had struck the lower side of the vehicle's rear left door.

Aggravated assault

Troy Willis Smith, 26, of Augusta was being held on two felony counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm in commission of a crime, plus carrying a concealed weapon and reckless conduct, the Chronicle reported.

Police said there was no indication the incident was related to the Masters. Lehman said he not argued with anyone at the event and did not know Smith and the vehicle had only a small parking pass to indicate any link to the Masters.

Smith was arrested after occupants of a second car that was fired upon saw the suspect vehicle park in a driveway and called police, who later found a gun and ammunition in the vehicle.

Police told the newspaper that alcohol played a role in the incident.

Lehman, 47, was set to tee off on Thursday morning in the ninth group of the first round along with European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam of Wales and South Africa's Tim Clark.

Lehman has played in 12 prior Masters, his best finish a runner-up showing in 1994. His best showing this season was a fourth-place effort at the World Golf Championship Match-Play Championship.

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