Couples captures SAS Championship title and cards course record 60 at Prestonwood CC

World Golf Hall of Famer earns first PGA Tour Champions win in over 5 years

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
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Peter Koutroumpis (@pksport)

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CARY, NC – Fred Couples was coming to play in the 2022 SAS Championship regardless of his intended finish at Prestonwood Country Club.

That decision eventually resulted in a memorable and record-setting final-round performance as Couples’ 12-under 60 established the new course record and earned him the Tournament title on Sunday.

“It’s a funky game and today was just one of those days where, honestly, everything got in the way; the hole, mediocre shots turned out great,” Couples said.

“And I haven’t putted like that – I mean, to shoot 60, you’ve got to putt – but the putter felt really, really good.”

Win, place, show

Making only his eighth PGA Tour Champions start of the year, the 63-year-old just wanted to end his season at an event on a course he liked, and then head home afterwards, looking forward to taking a break from what, in his mind, was a disappointing season.

He felt like the lone top-10 result he had in seven previous starts and the various finishes that didn’t end up with him raising the tournament prize weren’t enough.

Couples wasn’t playing to his standards, not competing to the level he wanted to.

So, he made it clear ‘he was done’ after Sunday.

Let it ride

With a mindset that arguably took any pressure off him heading into the the opening round on Friday, Couples eventually showed why he’s converted leads into wins 50 percent of the time on Tour by the time Sunday rolls around.

It was clinical as he birdied 12 of his final 14 holes and won it all by a six-stroke margin.

Couples not only bested Tom Kite’s 2003 then-course record of 61, but beat his own Tour round record of 61, as well as shooting lower than his age, and more importantly, ended a five-plus year winning drought, posting his 14th career Tour win,  and moving him into third among active players.

“I think it’s the best round I’ve ever played,” he said.

“I hit a few loose shots, you know, got away from them, but I made so many putts. I warmed up on the range better than I’ve ever felt and I played really, really well. 

“I did hit a crappy shot on 10 in the hazard and I made about a 30-footer for par, which was huge. Then I just started making putts. Today I just was trying to stay 2 or 3 ahead of Jerry (Kelly) because I knew I could birdie at any given time. So that was really my goal. I wasn’t worried about (Steven) Alker or Y.E. Yang or really anyone else. I knew if I just stayed two ahead of him. And then I got 3 and 4 and 5, then it was over.”

Notables: Charles Schwab Cup leader Alker closed with an 8-under 64 to finish runner-up at 14-under. It was Alker’s seventh top-two finish this season (20 starts)…Charles Schwab No. 4 Kelly finished third at 12-under for his fifth top-3 of the season (23 starts)…First-round leader Rocco Mediate finished fourth at 11-under for his best finish of the season (21 starts)…Charles Schwab No. 5 Miguel Angel Jimenez finished T5 at 10-under, along with Alex Cejka…Overnight co-leader Yang closed with a 1-over 73 to finish T13.

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