Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tom Watson leads by two from Fred Couples

Tom Watson holds a two-shot lead over over-50s debutant Fred Couple after the second round of the Mitsubishi Electtric Championship at Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii in the first event of the new US Champions (Seniors) Tour.
The 60-year-old man from Kansas, who should have won last year's Open at Turnberry had six birdies on the inward half for a six-under-par 66 and a 15-under-par tally of 129 with one round to go over the Hualalai course.
A winner already this month on Hawaii of the Wendy's Champions Skins in partnership with Jack Nicklaus, who turned 70 last week, Watson came back from a less than impressive start to finish with a bag of nine birdies to more than offset three bogeys.
Watson is averaging a driving distance of 288.5 yards in this tournament, hitting 80.6% of the greens in regulation and averaging 1.552 putts per green hit in regulation.
The scores were again on the low side over this resort course, which is just the easiest the veterans are asked to tackled all year.
Couples did not drop a shot in a second-round 66. He is making his first official Champions Tour start on a sponsor exemption to the winners-only event.
Fred is trying to increase the number of players - 15 - who have won in their Champions Tour debut. They include Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player but, a lot more recently - last year in fact, three players, including ex-Open champion and US Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman achieved the not inconsiderable feat.
Lehman had a 67 to join Michael Allen (66) at 12 under par. They were a stroke ahead of Mark O'Meara (65) and Phil Blackmar (67).
The 74-year-old Player shot his age for the 29th time in his long and successful career, but was in last place at 6 over. Player got the birdie he needed to reach his age by holing a bunker shot for birdie on 16 .... "the more I practice, the luckier I get." as the South African use to say.
Par 144 (2x72). First prize $315,000.
Players from US unless stated
129 Tom Watson 63 66.
131 Fred Couples 65 66.
132 Michael Allen 66 66, Tom Lehman 65 67.
133 Mark O'Meara 68 65, Phil Blackmar 66 67.
134 Mike Goodes 68 66, Hale Irwin 67 67.
135 Corey Pavin 67 68.
136 Andy North 71 65, John Cook 68 68, Bernhard Langer (Germany) 68 68, Keith Fergus 67 69, Bruce Lietzke 67 69.



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