Couples captures win No. 3 on Champions Tour|
Cap Cana, Dominican Republic (Sports Network) - Fred Couples made it three
wins in four starts on the Champions Tour, firing a 10-under 62 Sunday to
capture the Cap Cana Championship.
Not even Corey Pavin and Nick Price could stop the man they call "Boom Boom."
Still long off the tee, but now carrying a deft putting touch as well, Couples
became the first player ever to win three of his first four starts on the
He has won three tournaments in a row, in fact, since a runner-up finish at
the season-opener in Hawaii. He is the first player to win three straight on
tour since Jay Haas in 2006.
"I never really thought about the Champions Tour except for winning an event,
and winning three in a row is fantastic," said Couples, who picked up $240,000
to draw within $69,000 of the $1 million mark.
He shot a 21-under 195 on the Punta Espada course to smash by seven strokes
the tournament scoring record set by 2008 winner Mark Wiebe.
Couples also set the course record with his 62 on Sunday, bettering Bernhard
Langer's 64 from the final round last year.
"I played very, very well today. But still, I shot 10-under to barely win
this, so it's not easy. I will say that," said Couples.
He played in the final threesome with Pavin and Price, a throwback group that
looked more like a PGA Tour pairing circa 1995.
Pavin, the 36-hole leader, made bogey at No. 14 and fell behind Couples for
good. Pavin shot a 66 Sunday, finishing two strokes back at 19-under 197.
Price dropped four shots over his last six holes, including a double-bogey at
the 15th, while only making one birdie during that span. He closed with a 71,
falling into a tie for fourth place with Bernhard Langer (67) and Tom Pernice
Jr. (67) at 13-under 203.
It allowed Russ Cochran (67) to sneak into third place at 14-under 202.
Amazingly, Couples is now 77-under par during his first 12 official rounds on
the Champions Tour. The only start he failed to win was that season-opener,
where he finished a shot behind Tom Watson despite shooting 21-under par.
Couples was chasing Pavin for most of the day. He was out-driving him by a
mile on every hole, but still found himself down by three shots after making
bogey from a fairway bunker at the windy 10th.
It was the only blemish in a round that featured 11 birdies -- including two
stretches where Couples made five straight birdies.
The round turned for good at the 14th, where a two-shot swing gave Couples the
Pavin's cool composure helped him avoid disaster after he hit his approach
shot into a sand-like area covered in crushed shells behind the green.
Playing like his ball was in a bunker, Pavin duffed his third shot into the
tall grass. He finally made it to the green with his fourth, 18 feet away, and
holed the putt to save a bogey.
But Couples knocked in a four-footer for birdie to take a one-shot lead. He
was three strokes ahead of Price by that point. Couples went on to birdie the
15th from 10 feet and the 17th from 12 feet to secure the win.
A 15-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 1992 Masters, Couples said
he's felt comfortable playing against his old friends on the Champions Tour.
He will face a younger crowd in two weeks at Augusta National.
"When I get on [the PGA Tour], if I ever get Phil or Tiger, it's a totally
different game, although I know them. But out here, I know how Corey plays and
know what to expect, like when he holed that eagle and made a couple long
putts, you know that's going to happen. And with Nick, you know you're going
to get great ball-striking and if he putts he's tough to beat," said Couples.
"So it's the same day in and day out," he said. "And today was a good day for
NOTES: The final group of Couples, Pavin and Price have won a combined 48
titles on the PGA Tour, including five majors...For the first time in
Champions Tour history, the first five official events have been won by
players shooting sub-200 scores.
03/28 20:12:50 ET