Fred Couples Cooks up Playoff Triumph

A nifty wedge shot 3 feet on the playoff’s third hole allowed Fred Couples to finish off John Cook and to win the Seniors Players Championship in Harrison, New York.

“I knew when it was going, it was a really good shot,” Couples said. “I didn’t think it was going to be short and trickle down the hill. I just felt like it was going to be right there. It was simple yardage — 76 yards — and it hit soft. That extra rain certainly helped that shot, but I knew it was going to be close.”

With an even-par 71, followed by Cook with a 70 at 11-under and Peter Senior with a 71 at 1-under, Couples won his first senior major title. This was Couples’ first victory this season after last year’s four victories and after undergoing a non-traditional back procedure six weeks ago in Germany.

“I wouldn’t say I was playing awesome golf before the rain delay but it wasn’t bad,” Couples said. “After the rain delay, I just didn’t feel very good. I hit some good drives but I was not all that great.”

Couples was added to the list of the only players to win the Players Championship on the regular and senior tours, which includes Raymond Floyd and Jack Nicklaus.

“That’s great,” Couples said. “I get to play with the studs, so that’ll be fun.”

A solid round of 68 Saturday sent Fred Couples in the lead for the Senior Players Championship final round.

The 1992 Master champions was one shot clear of compatriot Cook and Senior of Australia, at 11-under par. Cook however shot a superb 66, probably the day’s best round.

The 51-year old Couples hoped his past experience can stand him in good stead as he looked forward to his maiden Senior Tour major title.

“It was a good round, not great, but I’m still in the lead and I’ll have to have a better round tomorrow” he said Saturday.

“It’s hard to win Augusta, hard to win U.S. Open, hard to win the British Open, so any golf tournament is hard to win. For me tomorrow is a big day to see if I can win a tournament.”