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November 5 2011

12:18 AM

Couples recovers late, tied for lead

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Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
Fred Couples recovered from an opening double bogey to shoot 70 and claim a share of the lead at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM

SAN FRANCISCO – Fred Couples got off to an inauspicious start for a leader in Round 2 of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, promptly making double bogey on his first hole  at TPC Harding Park.

But he hung around with a string pars until the 10th hole, where he made birdie, then added two more later on the back nine for a 1-under 70, enough to claim a share of the lead with Michael Allen and David Frost.

Friday was a nicer day that perhaps should have seen more low scores (Thursday and Friday’s low rounds were 68s, the first rounds in three years on the Champions Tour where the low round was that high), but Couples noted that Harding Park is no pushover.

“They moved a couple tees up, but still kept most of them back,” Couples said. “Everyone knows it’s cold. But it’s just a tough, tough course. I’m not dissatisfied shooting 1 under today at all.”

On the first hole he pushed a drive into the right rough, leaving tree limbs to contend with for his approach. He left that short in a bunker, blasted out 30 feet past the hole and three-putted. But on the back side he birdied the par-5 10th, hit a wedge to eight feet and made the putt on 15 and drove the ball pin-high on the par-4 16th, which had its tees moved up.

Two weeks ago on the Champions Tour, Couples posted 23 under at the AT&T Championship, winning by seven shots. With two rounds to go here, three are tied for the lead and and 10 are within four shots.

“It’s logjammed up there. Even if you don’t shoot a bad round tomorrow, someone shoots 68, you shoot well, you have a shot,” Couples said. “There are rounds out there where you can shoot 65 or 66 on this course. No one has done it yet because the first two days were pretty tough.”

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