Couples edges Allen in Mississippi
Saucier, MS (Sports Network) - Fred Couples birdied the final hole of regulation Sunday to earn a one-stroke win over Michael Allen at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
Couples, who won for the seventh time on the Champions Tour, closed with a three-under 69. He ended at 14-under-par 202.
"I played very played. It was a fun day. I hit the ball pretty well," Couples said in a televised interview.
Allen fired a bogey-free, six-under 66 to take second place at minus-13.
Jeff Sluman, who shared the second-round lead with Couples, managed a one-over 73 to slide into a share of third at 10-under-par 206. He ended alongside Tom Pernice, Jr. (69), who was making his first tour start of the year.
Bill Glasson (69), Jim Thorpe (72) and Bobby Clampett (71) tied for fifth place at nine-under-par 207 at Fallen Oak Golf Club.
Couples and Sluman looked as though they'd be the story in the final round, but Allen fought his way into the mix. Couples birdied the first and sixth to push his lead to two at 13-under.
Sluman made his first, and only, birdie of the day at the par-four seventh. He ran off nine consecutive pars from the eighth to remain at 12-under, but bogeyed the final two holes to fall down the leaderboard.
Couples pushed his lead back to two with a birdie at the 10th. Allen, who was two groups ahead of Couples, was alone in second place.
Allen birdied the second, then drained three in a row from the fifth to jump to 11-under. Around the turn, he birdied both par-fives, Nos. 13 and 15, to get to minus-13.
That was all Allen could do, though. He parred the final three to end one back.
"You know, I knew I was doing well. I knew I had to get to 13- or 14-under to kind of have a chance. So that was kind of my goal," Allen said in a television interview. "I was really trying to birdie 16 and 17."
Couples responded with a birdie on the par-three 14th to go two clear. At the 15th, Couples hit a poor chip shot with his third and that led to a bogey. He stumbled to another bogey at 17 to fall into a share of the lead with Allen.
"In my mind, on that second shot on the par-five (15), I knew I was going to hit a squirrelly shot. I just can't get down to those downhill lies," Couples admitted in a TV interview. "I told myself to chip it 20 feet by, but luckily Michael didn't make another birdie."
At the last, Couples hit a perfect tee shot, then dropped his second within 10 feet of the hole. He drained the birdie putt to pick up the win.
"I wasn't expecting three on the last hole, but I had an easy putt. It was straight downgrain and it rolled nice," Couples said on TV.
NOTES: Couples earned $240,000 for the win...With Couples winning from the final group, that makes it 15 straight Champions Tour events in which the winner came from the final group...This was the third playing of the event and Fred Funk and David Frost were the only two with top-10 finishes in the first two, but that streak ended this year as Funk shared 12th and Frost tied for 17th...After a two-week break, the Champions Tour heads to Tampa Bay for the Encompass Insurance Pro-Am, where John Cook was playoff winner over Jay Don Blake last year.
03/25 18:14:16 ET