Super hot Couples wins again

In just his third Champions Tour appearance, Fred Couples has won his second successive title – and by all of four shots.

In just his third Champions Tour appearance, Fred Couples has won his second successive title – and by all of four shots.

The sweet swinging 50-year-old American closed with a sizzling 6-under 65 in Sunday’s third round of the 54-hole Toshiba Classic at the Newport Beach Country Club in California that gave him a total of 18-under 195 and enabled him to cruise to victory by four shots over Ronnie Black (65).

Tom Lehman, who like Couples is one of 50-and-over golf’s ‘new boys’, tied for third on 12-under with Chinese Taipei’s Chien Soon Lu.

Both closed with 69s.

In January Couples finished second to Tom Watson in his first foray into senior golf in Hawaii and two weeks ago he won the Champions Tour’s ACE Group Classic in Florida.

“In a good way I am full of confidence in my game,” said Couples, who earned $255,000 to take his Tour-leading total to $691,000 for the year.

“I talked to Jay Haas a long time ago and when you are 50 you are the youngest guy out here and if you are a good player like I think I am, there are some opportunities to win out here.”

Couples, the overnight leader by two shots, started slowly on Sunday and was only one-under at the turn, but a spectacular birdie burst that included an eagle gave him a 5-under 31 on the back nine and took him out of range of his pursuers

“I was a little off to start with,” Couples said. “Then I made some good swings and started coming on the back nine.”

The 60-year-old Watson, in the meantime, matched his best round ever on the Champions Tour with a 9-under 62 – and in doing so, also tied Hale Irwin’s 1998 mark for the best final round in this event.

Watson had an eagle and three birdies on the first four holes, dropped a stroke with a bogey on the 9th, then birdied five of the last nine holes after coming close to making an eagle on the last with a 20 foot putt.

“The putter was the star,” Watson said. “I kind of had an attitude going out there on the first three holes of both nines, I hadn’t made any birdies. Those are short par 4s, I ought to be making some birdies there.”

Watson pulled within two strokes of Couples with that blistering start, but couldn’t match his pace down the final stretch

“I was thinking, Freddie’s hanging onto 13 under,” Watson said. “If I could get to 12 with the weather coming in, you never know what’s going to happen.”

But Couples changed everything when he hit a wedge into the 12th green that pulled up a foot from the hole.

He nailed a 3-footer for another birdie on 13 and never looked back, despite a bogey at 14 which enabled Black to briefly cut his lead to two.

In the nine Champions Tour rounds he has played so far, Couples hasn’t shot higher than 68 and his 56 under after just 162 holes has sounded a warning that he could be making life very difficult for his fellow would-be winners this coming summer.