Couples wins Toshiba Classic with strong finish
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Fred Couples won the Toshiba Classic on Sunday for his 10th Champions Tour title, birdieing the final two holes for a one-stroke victory.
The 54-year-old Couples shot a 5-under-par 66 to finish at 15-under 198 at Newport Beach Country Club. Also the 2010 winner, he made a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th and holed another 4-footer on the par-5 18th.
”I worked pretty hard but I drove it all over the lot,” Couples said. ”I made some putts and when you do, you have a chance.”
Couples had to scramble on the final hole to take the outright lead. After hitting his approach over the green, he hit a flop shot to set up the birdie putt.
”I hit a 6-iron, and it was way too much club,” Couples said. ”To get up-and-down from there for me was kind of miraculous.”
Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer and Steve Pate tied for second. Langer had a chance to force a playoff but missed a 20-foot birdie try on 18 and settled for a 70. ”I knew where I stood,” Langer said. ”I asked someone and they told me Freddy birdied. I just hit a bad shot.”
Montgomerie had a 62, the best round of the week, and Pate shot a 66.
Couples became the second two-time winner in tournament history. Hale Irwin won in 1998 and 2002.
”It was a great day,” Couples said. ”I was a little salty out there at times. I assumed someone would get to 16 under. I’m just happy I made some birdies.”
Langer’s approach on No. 18 ended up left of the green up against a hospitality tent. After a drop, he chipped 20 feet past the hole and his birdie putt missed on the left side.
”I pull-hooked it and when you are left, especially short and left you have no chance,” Langer said. ”I hit a good putt, but it didn’t go in.”
Mark O’Meara, Michael Allen, Kenny Perry, Jeff Hart and Scott Dunlap tied for fifth at 13 under. O’Meara closed with a 64, Allen had a 67, Hart and Dunlap shot 68, and Perry had a 69.