Couples Runs Away from Field at Administaff Small Business Classic

By Tom LaMarre
Fred Couples might simply be playing the best golf of his life.
There have been times in his rookie season on the Champions Tour that Couples has seemed to be in a league of his own, the latest coming when he shot 9-under par 63 in the final round to win the Administaff Small Business Classic by seven strokes over Mark Wiebe at the Woodlands Country Club in the Woodlands, Texas.
The 50-year-old Couples, who claimed his fourth victory of the season on the senior circuit, has done it by leading the Champions Tour in driving distance and putts per round this year.
“I don’t even know if I ever putted like that on the PGA Tour, ever,” said the resident of La Quinta, who needed only 24 putts in the final round. “I considered myself to be a pretty good putter. You know, then it got to where it wasn’t as good when I got older.
“But I’ve never putted like I have this year. I mean I’m leading in putting. And there are a lot more people out there that putt better than I do. But it’s just one of those things, you know. I remember making a lot of putts on the regular tour, but not like this.”
Couples, who carded five birdies and two eagles in his incredible final round, and shot 7-under 29 on the back nine, finished at 71-65-63–199, 17-under, and collected $255,000.
Wiebe, from San Jose State and Seaside, Ore., totaled 67-68-71–206, and was left in the dust.
“I feel like I got lapped,” Wiebe said. “If this was a car race, I feel Fred would have had two laps on me.”
Dan Forsman of Arizona State and Provo, Utah, finished at 75-66-66–207 and tied for third with Brad Bryant, who also wound up at 75-66-66–207.
Said Forsman: “Fred is out in the stratosphere somewhere.”
Corey Pavin, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain from Oxnard and UCLA, led the first two days, but finished at 66-68-74–208 and tied for fifth with John Cook of Corona del Mar, who came in at 72-69-67–208.
“Fred played great; it was a pretty amazing nine holes,” said Pavin, who was playing for only the second time since August because of his Ryder Cup duties. “It was tough to keep up with him.
“I wasn’t playing well anyway. I was out in front of the ball today. I struggled all day and it never turned around. … Things weren’t clicking, I’ll try again next week. I haven’t played much golf lately.”
Tom Pernice Jr. of Murrieta and UCLA posted a score of 70-71-68–209 and tied for seventh with Jay Don Blake of St. George, Utah, and BYU, who wound up at 70-70-69– 209.
Tom Lehman of Scottsdale, Ariz., and the University of Minnesota totaled 71-68-71–210 and tied for ninth with Loren Roberts of San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly (SLO), who carded a score of 70-73-67–210.
Mike Reid of BYU and Provo, Utah, tied for 13th at 73-67-73–213, Morris Hatalsky of San Diego and Arizona State tied for 24th at 71-71-73–215, and Olin Browne of Occidental College in Los Angeles and Hobe Sound, Fla., tied for 35th at 76-71-70–217.
Bobby Clampett of Carmel Valley and BYU shot 78-71-69–218 and tied for 42nd with
Mark O’Meara of Mission Viejo and Long Beach State, who came in at 77-69-72–218.
Ronnie Black of Tucson, Ariz., totaled 72-75-72–219 and tied for 49th with Phil Blackmar of San Diego and the University of Texas, who wound up at 74-71-74–219.
Scott Simpson of San Diego and USC tied for 54th 76-69-75–220, and Tom Purtzer of Green Valley, Ariz., and Arizona State tied for 56th at 78-71-72–221.
Bob Gilder of Corvallis, Ore., and Arizona State finished at 67-78-73-76–227 to tie for 67th with Peter Jacobsen of Portland and the University of Oregon, who shot 84-71-72– 227, and John Jacobs of Los Angeles and USC was 71st at 78-79-73–230.
Couples was still two strokes behind Pavin after 10 holes of the final round, thanks to the only blemish on his card, a double-bogey 5 on the eighth hole, but he was only getting warmed up.
After righting the ship with two consecutive pars, the 1992 Masters champion on the next four holes carded three birdies and an eagle on No. 13, where Pavin made a bogey for a three-stroke swing.
Couples left the field behind by playing the last eight holes in seven-under.
“That was something,” said Couples, whose $2,271,894 in earnings on the Champions Tour is more than he earned in any season on the PGA Tour. “I played well yesterday and I felt I’d play well today. And to be honest with you, I have no explanation except that I hit the ball very, very well, and I made a lot of putts, and all that stuff added up to 63.
” . . . I’ve had a great year.”
Possibly his best.
Complete Results
1. Fred Couples————————————– 71–65–63—199
2. Mark Wiebe————————————— 67–68–71—206
T3. Dan Forsman————————————- 75–66–66—207
T3. Brad Bryant————————————— 75–66–66—207
T5. John Cook—————————————- 72–69–67—208
T5. Corey Pavin————————————– 66–68–74—208
T7. Tom Pernice, Jr.——————————— 70–71–68—209
T7. Jay Don Blake———————————— 70–70–69—209
T9. Loren Roberts———————————— 70–73–67—210
T9. David Frost————————————— 70–72–68—210
T9. Larry Mize—————————————- 71–69–70—210
T9. Tom Lehman————————————- 71–68–71—210
T13. Bernhard Langer——————————- 79–68–66—213
T13. Keith Fergus———————————— 71–72–70—213
T13. David Peoples———————————- 72–70–71—213
T13. Russ Cochran———————————– 69–72–72—213
T13. Tommy Armour III—————————– 71–70–72—213
T13. Fred Funk————————————— 71–70–72—213
T13. Mike Reid————————————— 73–67–73—213
T13. Tom Byrum————————————- 73–67–73—213
T21. Hal Sutton————————————— 70–74–70—214
T21. Hale Irwin————————————— 71–71–72—214
T21. Steve Lowery———————————– 75–67–72—214
T24. Jim Rutledge———————————— 74–74–67—215
T24. Tom Jenkins———————————— 75–73–67—215
T24. Bob Tway—————————————- 72–73–70—215
T24. Peter Senior———————————— 72–71–72—215
T24. Morris Hatalsky——————————— 71–71–73—215
T24. Jay Haas—————————————– 70–71–74—215
T30. Mark Calcavecchia—————————– 74–74–68—216
T30. Mark James————————————- 75–72–69—216
T30. John Harris————————————– 73–73–70—216
T30. Eduardo Romero——————————- 70–75–71—216
T30. Jeff Sluman————————————- 73–72–71—216
T35. Gene Jones————————————- 75–72–70—217
T35. Blaine McCallister—————————— 74–73–70—217
T35. Olin Browne———————————— 76–71–70—217
T35. Kenny Perry———————————— 78–69–70—217
T35. Ted Schulz————————————— 73–73–71—217
T35. Ben Crenshaw———————————- 74–70–73—217
T35. Gary Hallberg———————————– 74–69–74—217
T42. Bobby Clampett——————————– 78–71–69—218
T42. Joey Sindelar———————————– 76–71–71—218
T42. Mark O’Meara———————————- 77–69–72—218
T42. Bruce Fleisher———————————- 73–72–73—218
T42. Bill Glasson————————————– 71–73–74—218
T42. Larry Nelson———————————— 70–74–74—218
T42. Nick Price—————————————- 73–71–74—218
T49. J.L. Lewis—————————————- 74–75–70—219
T49. Ronnie Black———————————— 72–75–72—219
T49. Phil Blackmar———————————– 74–71–74—219
T49. Mike Goodes———————————– 70–73–76—219
T49. Keith Clearwater——————————- 73–69–77—219
T54. Bruce Vaughan——————————— 76–71–73—220
T54. Scott Simpson———————————- 76–69–75—220
T56. Tom Purtzer———————————— 78–71–72—221
T56. Tom Kite—————————————– 76–71–74—221
58. Gil Morgan————————————— 76–70–76—222
T59. Tim Simpson———————————— 77–72–74—223
T59. Allen Doyle————————————– 70–76–77—223
T59. Sonny Skinner———————————- 77–69–77—223
T62. Fulton Allem———————————— 77–75–72—224
T62. Wayne Levi————————————- 75–78–71—224
T62. Andy Bean————————————– 72–74–78—224
T65. Chien Soon Lu———————————- 76–79–70—225
T65. Bobby Wadkins——————————— 74–74–77—225
T67. Dana Quigley———————————– 72–82–73—227
T67. Peter Jacobsen——————————— 84–71–72—227
T67. Bob Gilder————————————— 78–73–76—227
70. Mike McCullough——————————– 77–72–79—228
71. John Jacobs————————————– 78–79–73—230
72. Curtis Strange———————————— 78–75–78—231
T73. Fuzzy Zoeller———————————— 74–81–78—233
T73. Jim Dent—————————————– 79–79–75—233
WD. Tom McKnight———————————- 77–75––—152
WD. Bruce Lietzke———————————– –––––—–
WD. Don Pooley————————————- 80––––—80
WD. D.A. Weibring———————————- 80––––—80

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles