Seattle's Fred Couples moved into position for his second straight Champions Tour victory, shooting a 7-under 64 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead in the Toshiba Classic.
Couples, making his third start on the 50-and-over tour, had a 12-under 130 total on the Newport Beach (Calif.) Country Club course. He won the ACE Group Classic on Feb. 14 in Florida and finished second in the season-opening event in Hawaii. Last week, Couples tied for 14th in the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open.
Tom Lehman (65) and Taiwan’s Chien Soon Lu (67) were tied for second. Loren Roberts (67) and Ronnie Black (67) followed at 8 under, and defending champion Eduardo Romero (69), John Cook (66), Bob Gilder (66) and Mark Wiebe (71) were 6 under.
“I drove it in the rough several times,” Couples said. “I wasn’t blasting them all over the golf course, but yes, I was three or four steps in the rough several times.”
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Villegas still in front
Ashes fell from the sky, smoke filled the air and a thick haze hovered over PGA National.
Some might have found breathing difficult in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., at the Honda Classic.
Camilo Villegas wasn’t among them after a nearby controlled burn.
Once threatening to run away after a sizzling start, Villegas came back to the pack on his back nine and wound up rallying to take a three-shot lead over Nathan Green and Vijay Singh after three rounds. Villegas is at 11-under 199, so even after making three bogeys in a five-hole stretch in what became a round of 67, he’ll be the one to catch today.
Green (67) and Singh (69) are at 8 under, while George McNeill (66) and Matt Every (69) were tied for fourth at 6 under. Anthony Kim, who shared the 36-hole lead with Villegas, shot 73 and wound up six shots back entering the final round, tied with Michael Connell (69).
Webb leads Ladies Masters
Six-time champion Karrie Webb birdied the final holes for an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the Australian Ladies Masters at Gold Coast.