By Champions Tour staff
Fred Couples birdied three of his last five holes Saturday to take a two-shot lead over Kenny Perry at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS. Now Couples is in position to claim his third career Champions Tour major title.
Fred Couples, 66-62-67—195, (-15)
• Couples is seeking his ninth career win on the Champions Tour and his first since winning the Senior British Open 11 months ago at Turnberry. His other major victory came at this tournament in 2011.
• Couples has led or been tied for the lead seven times in his Champions Tour career going into the final round and he has won five of those, including this event in 2011 when it was staged at Westchester CC.
• The two events he did not win were the 2011 U.S. Senior Open in Seattle where he finished second toBernhard Langer and at the 2010 Ensure Classic where he was also second to Gary Hallberg.
• Couples has the second-lowest final-round scoring average on Tour at 68.80 (Bernhard Langer leads at 68.36).
• Couples has played in the final group two times this year and was a second-place finisher in each one – Toshiba Classic and Regions Tradition.
• Couples has only finished outside the top-four in one of those six appearances (T12-Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic) this year.
• Couples finished second at the Toshiba Classic in mid-March and has also been second in his last two appearances – Regions Tradition, Encompass Championship.
• Couples has also made three appearances on the PGA TOUR this year – T46/Northern Trust Open, T13/Masters, T50/the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
• Couples is a cumulative 9-under on his final six holes this week, while Kenny Perry, his nearest pursuer is even on those holes.
• Couples is bidding to become the third player to win multiple titles in this tournament. Arnold Palmer (1984, ’85) and Dave Stockton (1992, ’94) were the others with two wins each.
• Fred Couples previous third-round leads/co-leads in majors on the Champions Tour:
• Fred Couples’ career record in the senior majors:
• Couples’ 54-hole stats: 32/34 fairways (T18), 49/54 greens (T1), 30.7 putts per round (T12), eagles 0, birdies 19, pars 31, bogeys 4
• Kenny Perry set a new tournament mark for best consecutive 36-hole score when he posted back-to-back 63s for a 36-hole total of 126 (-14), breaking Jack Nicklaus’ mark of 128 (64-64) in the third and fourth rounds at the 1990 tournament at Dearborn CC in Michigan.
|All-time best consecutive rounds on the Champions Tour|
• This is his 10th start in a major championship on the Champions Tour and he has four top-10 finishes to his credit, including a second-place effort last month at the Senior PGA Championship in St. Louis.
• A 14-time winner on the PGA TOUR, he won three times in both 2003 and 2008.
• Perry has finished among the top-10 on the Champions Tour five times, including a pair of T2 finishes at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf and Senior PGA Championship.
• Perry played his final six holes from Round 2 in the morning and was a cumulative 11-under in the 24 holes he played on Saturday.
•Perry’s 54-hole stats: 34/42 fairways (T18), 44/54 greens (T10), 29.7 putts per round (4th), eagles 2, birdies 15, pars 31, bogeys 6
• Third-round leaders/co-leaders have enjoyed better than average success at this tournament. In the previous 30 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championships, third-round leaders/co-leaders have won 19 of those, including the last three – Joe Daley in 2012, Fred Couples in 2011 and Mark O’Meara in 2010. Daley shared the lead last year with Mark Calcavecchia.
• Bernhard Langer’s 7-under 63 was the best third-round score in tournament history and it was later matched by Kenny Perry. The previous mark was 64, established by Orville Moody in 1989 and later matched by 12 others, including Fred Funk, Mark Wiebe and Brad Bryant a year ago. Langer’s round helped him move up 31 places from T42 to T11.
• In five of the last six years at this tournament, the winner has come from the final group, including the last three.
• Despite playoffs in 2010 and 2011, there have been just four in the previous 30 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championships, and three of the four playoffs have ended quickly. Only one -- the 2011 three-hole playoff -- lasted more than one extra hole. In 1995, J.C. Snead defeated Jack Nicklaus with a birdie on the first extra hole. It marked the first time since the 1982 Bay Hill Classic that Nicklaus lost an event in a playoff (to Tom Kite). In 2001, Allen Doyle defeated Doug Tewell with a par on the first extra hole. In 2010, Mark O’Meara beat Michael Allen with a par on the first extra hole and in 2011 Fred Couples birdied the third extra hole to defeat John Cook.
• The winner of this tournament will earn a spot in next year's PLAYERS Championship.
• Lift, clean and place rules were again in effect and there were 34 rounds below 70 in Round 3 compared to 40 scores in the 60s in Round 2. There were 44, two fewer than Round 2.
• Sixty-one-year-old Morris Hatalsky is enjoying another nice effort in a major championship. Hatalsky was T3 after 54 holes at the recent Regions Tradition and eventually finished T8.
• The hardest hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club through the first three rounds has been the par-4 8th hole, yielding just 12 total birdies (4.488)…The easiest hole has been the par-5 2nd, giving up 12 eagles and 126 birdies.
• Russ Cochran withdrew after six holes due to a wrist injury.
Round 1 – Mark Calcavecchia (68)
Round 2 – Fred Couples (62)
Round 3 – Kenny Perry (63)
•This week's scoring averages:
• David Frost, the current Charles Schwab Cup leader with 1,417 points, is T27 through 54 holes this week. Bernhard Langer, second to Frost in the standings, is currently T11. Fred Couples, the tournament leader, is currently in third place in the Schwab Cup standings with 869 points. A total of 810 Schwab Cup points go to the winner of this week’s Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS.
• Defending champion Joe Daley is T35 through 36 holes, 12 strokes back of Fred Couples. Arnold Palmer (1984-85) is the only player to successfully defend a Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
• With the threat of inclement weather on Sunday, final-round tee times have been moved up to 7:30- 9:40 a.m. off both the first and 10th tees.