Watson nips Couples for Mitsubishi title

Tom Watson, right, is congratulated by Fred Couples after Watson won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Tom Watson, right, is congratulated by Fred Couples after Watson won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Scores »

Greater Gwinnett Championship

Duluth, GA - TPC Sugarloaf

1:15:24 PM ET. 04/16/2014




PosNameTodayThruScore
 Anders ForsbrandE E
 Gary HallbergE E
 Brad BryantE E
 Duffy WaldorfE E
 Hal SuttonE E
Complete Leaderboard »

KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii – Tom Watson became the 13th oldest player to win on the Champions Tour on Sunday, birdieing the final two holes for one-stroke victory over senior newcomer Fred Couples in the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

The 60-year-old Watson, coming off a win with Jack Nicklaus in the Champions Skins at Kaanapali, closed with a 7-under 65 to finish at 22-under 194 for his 13th Champions Tour title and his first victory in 34 career starts in Hawaii on the two tours.

After driving into the right rough, Watson hit a spectacular second shot that rolled 20 feet on the 18th green and stopped 4 feet from the hole.

Couples, who closed with a bogey-free 64, just missed his 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Watson calmly sank the winner and waved his cap to the roaring crowd.

It was a sweet victory for Watson, who made a magical run last year at the British Open before losing to Stewart Cink in a playoff.

Again, Watson torched the back nine with five birdies. He had six birdies on each of the first two days.

Watson tied Couples for the lead on No. 17 by sinking a 6-foot birdie putt. Watson smiled in front of the biggest gallery to see the event in years with the sun setting over the Pacific.

Couples birdied the par-4 16th for a one-stroke lead over Watson at 21 under. After a big drive, he hit a wedge from 118 yards to 12 feet.

Couples was trying to become the 16th player to win his Champions Tour debut.

The 15-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t hoisted a trophy since the 2003 Shell Houston Open. Last year, he had four top-10 finishes in 16 starts on the regular tour and finished 75th on the money list.

Couples took his first lead by eagling the 566-yard 10th to reach 18 under. He hit an iron from the first cut of rough, setting up his 6-foot putt.

Watson, who birdied the 10th, shook his right fist after holing a 22-foot birdie putt on the par-4 11th that tied Couples for the lead.

While the fans came to see Couples, Watson may have had a slight homefield advantage.

Watson purchased one of the sprawling homes at Hualalai about a year ago. He was also teammates with the course designer, Nicklaus, a week ago at the Skins Game. They finished with 10 skins and $350,000 for their second victory in four years.

Michael Allen birdied the final hole for a 66 to finish third at 18 under, a stroke ahead of Tom Lehman (68). Both men played last week in the PGA Tour’s Sony Open, with Lehman tying for 16th and Allen tying for 25th.

The 64-year-old Irwin, a two-time champion at Hualalai, closed with a 64 to finish fifth at 14 under. It was his second top-10 finish in a row after going 41 straight tournaments without one.

Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification

  • PGA
  • CHMP
  • WEB
[[PGAtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next
[[CHMPtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next
[[NWIDtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next