Couples overtakes Pavin for win at Cap Cana

By Associated PressMarch 29, 2010, 2:40 am
Champions Tour

CAP CANA, Dominican Republic – When Fred Couples joined the Champions Tour this year, most everyone predicted success befitting a 15-time PGA Tour winner and Masters champion.

Judging from his first four events, everyone was right.

Couples shot a 62, breaking the course record at the 7,170-yard, par-72 Punta Espada Golf Club and winning the Cap Cana Championship on Sunday by two strokes.

He made 11 birdies in the final round and finished the tournament at 21-under 195. Corey Pavin finished second.

“It was an unbelievable day,” said Couples who made five birdies in a row from the second through sixth hole. “The first six or seven holes, there was an eagle, birdies and putts going in from everywhere.”

Couples’ third consecutive win tied Jay Haas’ 2006 record. He is also the first player to win three times in his first four starts. He is by under 200 strokes for 54 holes in each of his victories and is 77 under par.

He has earned $931,000 and leads the money list by a margin of $431,000.

Couples began the day two strokes behind Pavin and one back of Nick Price.

Pavin shot a sparkling 66, but was the victim of a bad break when his second shot at the par 4 14th hole hit a greenside sprinkler head and bounced 60 yards over the green into a waste area.

He was unable to recover and made a bogey, losing the lead for the first time since the seventh hole.

“I did a lot of things that were very good out there today,” said Pavin, who made an eagle with a chip-in at the par-5 sixth hole to tie for the lead, five birdies and one bogey, “and one bad break does not make a tournament, but it doesn’t help any.”

Lefty Russ Cochran, never a factor in the chase for first place, finished with 67 and 202, good enough for third. Price, who shot himself out of contention with a watery approach shot and double bogey at the 15th hole, shot 71 and finished tied for fourth at 13-under-par 203 with Tom Pernice Jr. (67) and Bernhard Langer (67).

Couples, Price and Pavin lit up a defenseless course for the third day in a row.

In the opening nine holes, they made 11 birdies and an eagle.

Couples ran off five more birdies in a row from the 11-15 and maintained a one-shot lead over Pavin when both birdied the par-5 15th. Of his birdies, only one came from outside 30 feet and eight came from inside 15 or less.

A final birdie at the par-4 17th, coupled with three Pavin pars to end the round, signaled a two-stroke victory for Couples.

“I had a great stretch of golf in 1992,” said Couples who won three tournaments, including the Masters, in a two month period then, “but I must say that these four weeks on the Champions Tour I’m not missing many shots.”

Couples plays next week at the Shell Houston Open and then the Masters the following week.

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: