Chris Couch doesn't turn 38 until later this spring, but to hear him talk, he's got the body of a 55-year-old man. He's in more pain than a blacksmith's anvil, but that hasn't stopped him from playing some of the best golf of his life.
Couch tore up Copperhead's back nine on Friday, firing a 29 and barely missing a birdie putt on No. 18 that would have sent him to 10 under and an sure spot in the final group come Saturday. The Gainesville, Fla. product hasn't won since the 2006 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, mainly because he lost two years due to injury. He got his card back in 2010 after scoring two top-five finishes, including a tie for fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Back to the pain. It's best to just let Couch explain it. And
why he wears three bracelets on each wrist.
"I think it helps blood flow. So it helps all of your aches and pains," Couch said. "I have the copper magnets on the bottoms here, and this is kind of like a keep-your-mind focused deal.
"But I have tendonitis in my left elbow, in the upper and lower elbow, and I don't know, I couldn't tell you if they work or not, but I do know that when I take them off, that tendonitis flares [up] and when I have them on, there's no pain."
Couch used to play 30 times a year, but he says those days are long gone. He's only made four starts this year, but he's finished in the top 10 in two of them.
And a win?
"It would mean a lot. You know, I feel like I'm good enough to win, and I've been playing well enough this year and last year to win," Couch said. "And you know, it's just hard to come back from an injury. It would definitely mean a lot to me. I've been blessed to be back out here. God has given me an opportunity to come back from an injury which I didn't know if I was going to be able to come back or not. I mean, there was times when my shoulder was so bad that I thought that was going to be my career."
The kicker is that Couch is swinging the club better than ever. He worked on some swing changes over the winter, and his ball-striking has been solid. He missed only two greens on Friday.
"I had a good year last year, a little bit of inconsistency, so we were looking for the consistency this year, and so far, so good," Couch said. "Hopefully, I can keep working on those moves and as they say, ball goes straight."