AUGUSTA, Ga. – Much is made of Phil Mickelson, and how he can seemingly find his game the week of the Masters, even if he’s not been in his best form for months.
Enter sweet-swinging Fred Couples, who is much the same as Mickelson, or perhaps even more so.
Couples, 54, shot an opening-round 71 Thursday at Augusta National to jump into contention. The 1992 Masters champion was tied for third last year after Round 1 and was tied for second after the second round. He ended in a 13th-place tie.
In 2010, Couples was the outright leader after the first day and ultimately tied for sixth place. In his four Masters starts since turning 50, Couples has never finished outside the top 15.
“I’m happy with what I shot, the last few years have been very good,” Couples said.
On Thursday he jumped out to a solid start with birdies on Nos. 5 and 8, but made two bogeys and a birdie over the final seven holes for 71.
Couples has 11 total top-10 finishes at the Masters.
“Can a 50-year-old win here? I think so,” he said. “It’s hard for me personally to play a course this hard day after day after day for four solid rounds. But my goal is to compete with these guys and not really worry about them.”