Peter Koutroumpis (@pksport)
CARY, NC – When they tee it up for the final round of the 2022 SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club on Sunday, it’s anyone’s tournament to win.
By the end of second-round play, Fred Couples rested atop the leaderboard along with Y.E. Yang at 8-under par overall.
First-round leader Rocco Mediate, Jerry Kelly, and Scott McCarron stood just a stroke behind at -7, while seven others were tied at 6-under.
Couples shot a second consecutive 68 while Yang birdied the par-5 17th to join him at the top.
“I play so little that it’s very exciting to play well when I do and I love it,” Couples said afterwards.
“I mean, I didn’t think I would have any shot of playing great golf here and I got it around great for two days and I just need to do it one more day.”
A Couples set of notes
Couples has played the back nine in bogey-free 7-under and the front nine in 1-under so far.
Leading and/or co-leading for the 13th time entering the final round in a PGA TOUR Champions event, he holds an impressive 50% (6-for-12) conversion rate in producing victories.
With a win on Sunday, he would snap a winless streak of 5 years, 3 months, 21 days (or 1,939 days), dating back to the 2017 American Family Insurance Championship.
For Yang, posting a 2-under 70 on Saturday put him into the position to play alongside Couples and Jerry Kelly in the final group on Sunday, a first-time experience.
The 50-year-old seeks to win his first Tour title in his 22nd event of the season that includes three top-10 finishes – the best, second place at the Ascension Charity Classic.
Just keep plugging along
With very little room for error on a course he admittedly loves to play, Couples is in the position he wants to be amongst such a crowded group.
“Basically, when you’re a playing tournaments like this where the courses are hard and everyone’s 6, 7, 8 under, you have to shoot a really good round to win,” he said.
“Somebody will shoot 6-under tomorrow and probably get to 12-under, which makes me have to shoot another 68, which I’m very capable of doing and I feel good about myself. But, you know, I just got to keep plugging along.”
Notables: Mediate carded an even-par 72 and sits T3 at 7-under, along with Charles Schwab No. 4 Kelly and McCarron…Charles Schwab Cup leader Steven Alker shot the round of the day with 6-under 66 to move from T40 to T6 on the leaderboard…Six other players are T6, including two-time champion Bernhard Langer (2012, 2018), 2017 champion Colin Montgomerie, Charles Schwab No. 10 Steve Flesch, Jim Furyk, Paul Stankowski and Tom Gillis.
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