Following up his great play on Saturday, Fred Couples finished off his first victory in three years with a three shot win Sunday in the PGA Tour Champions Chubb Classic in Naples, FL.
Couples began the day a shot off the lead of Miguel Angel Jimenez and finished with a final round 67 . The drama built heading to the final two holes. Jimenez trailing by two, hit his third shot on the par 5 17th close to the hole to initially put the pressure back on Couples. After laying up first, Couples responded with his clutch third:
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) February 19, 2017
Both players made birdie, which kept the Couples lead at two. On the 18th, Jimenez knowing he needed to make something happen/put pressure on, came up short on his approach to the par 4 and found the hazard, which put it in Couples hands. He safely put his second on the back fringe of the green, hit a great chip for his third and the title was his.
“I’m very excited to be playing….because for three years I didn’t really play a whole lot,” Couples said to Golf Channel immediately after. “I like this golf course. I played well. I would say…the good shots that I hit, I made birdies on.” Couples continued, “Sundays are always hard. I always say winning anything is not easy….I’m glad it’s over.”
It looked for little while Sunday that a previous three time winner of this event, Bernhard Langer might win it, again. He had taken a one shot lead on the back, but he put his second shot in the water on that 17th hole and eventually made triple bogey 8 to end his chances.
For his part, Jimenez bogey at 18 gave him a final round 71 and he finished runner up.
As we wrote Saturday, Couples put himself in position for the win and had a clean card of five birdies with no bogeys on Sunday. It’s his first victory anywhere since he won the 2014 Shaw Charity Classic on the Champions Tour in August of that year and his 12th title on the Senior Circuit.
Champions Tour rookie Jerry Kelly made his debut this weekend and shot a final round 66 to tie for third.