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February 6 2011

1:55 AM

Driver propels Couch up board

COUCH: Scorecard | VIDEO: Post-round interview | Birdie on No. 7 | WM PHOENIX: Saturday Wrap-up

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Couch didn't miss a fairway in Saturday’s second round until he hit his tee shot on the ninth hole, which was his 18th of the day.

Couch still managed to hit the green in regulation and two-putt for a final par that capped off a round of 65 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He'll start the third round 11 under and three strokes off the lead held by Tommy Gainey, as a result.

Couch's solid driving has left him second in fairways hit through 36 holes. He's tied for 24th in greens in regulation and has used 27 putts in each of the first two rounds. 

"I drove the ball very well today," Couch said. "I missed one fairway and it was on the last hole there. ... But I don't think I missed the center of the fairway all day other than that, and that really helps out here. Hitting off the short grass to these tight pins where you can control the spin and all that, that helps a lot.

Couch's round included a 32 on the back nine, his first of the day. The Floridian birdied three straight holes on the back, one of which was a 15-footer at the 16th hole -- much to the delight of the fans.

"That's what this tournament is all about," Couch said when asked about the atmosphere. "The fans come out here to have fun.  I love it.  When I'm back home that's what I like to do. I like to have fun, play, and we yell and each other and do whatever. 

"But I think it's a great tournament for that kind of thing, and we don't see that too often out here."

Couch has had a good West Coast swing, tying for seventh at the Bob Hope Classic and 27th at the Farmers Insurance Open last week. On Sunday, and likely into Monday, Couch will be looking for his second PGA TOUR win, and his first in five years.

"I'm just going to keep trying to do what I'm doing," he said. "I thank God for putting me in the position that I'm in for this weekend. We're already on the weekend, but for the next 36 holes, and hopefully I can keep my energy going. 

"I'm not in the best shape that I've been in my life, but hopefully I can keep my energy going and keep a good, positive attitude out there." -- Helen Ross

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