Couples’ Front-Nine Surge Leads To Champions Tour Victory

On Sunday, we were all reminded of something by 15-time PGA Tour winner Fred Couples: when his back holds up, he is really good.

 
The 57-year-old Couples used a blistering start to overtake the field in Madison, Wisconsin and win the American Family Insurance Championship, setting himself up well with the U.S. Senior Open coming up this week. It was the 13th career Champions Tour victory for Couples, who has played in just seven events this season due to his notoriously bad back.

Beginning the day in fourth place, Couples birdied six of his first 11 holes to shoot a bogey-free six-under 66, propelling him to a two-stroke victory over Scott Verplank.

Bullets

  • Beginning his final round three shots behind 36-hole leader Paul Broadhurst, Couples sprinted out of the gate, and after birdies on six of his first 11 holes, he suddenly held a four-stroke lead. From there, Couples parred each of his last seven holes, allowing him to hold off Scott Verplank, Joe Durant, and Steve Stricker.
  • The win was Couples’ second of the 2017 season. In just seven Champions Tour events this season, Couples has six top-10s, all inside the top six. His other start was a T13. He also finished T18 at The Masters, which he has a lifetime exemption for due to his 1992 Augusta triumph.
  • Couples ranked second in the field in driving distance for the week (288.7 yards), while hitting 81% of his greens in regulation.
  • Couples leads the Champions Tour in scoring average and is now third in the Schwab Cup Money List.

Quotable

“Well, I honestly, on this tour I feel like I can still win, but we’ve got guys that practice really, really hard out here and they’re 52, 55, 60. I just don’t have the body to do that. So where I miss is when I get on a little roll, I don’t know how long it will really last.”
Fred Couples


Joel Cook

Joel Cook is Pro Golf Weekly's Lead Writer. He is a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America.



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