Couples wanes on back nine, falls seven back
AUGUSTA, Ga. Fred Couples’ chances of a walk-off win at the Masters ended on the back nine Saturday. He started the third round at 5 under par, one shot off Jason Day’s lead, but shot 77 to fall to 18th place, seven shots behind Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera.
Couples, who said he'd retire if he won, was even par for the day when he arrived at the par-4 14th. He played his final five holes in 5 over par, though, and shot 77. Couples bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15 and made triple-bogey at the 17th.
“I would think that put me out of any running for anything tomorrow,” said Couples, who played with Jason Day in Saturday’s final group. “The rest of the holes weren't all that great either. I was very mediocre. I made a lot of pars, but I had just some mediocre swings. I wasn't all over the place.”
Couples, 53, has been in the top 10 after 36 holes in each of the last four Masters.
He held the first-round lead at the 2010 Masters after shooting 66, but followed with 75 to fall to ninth. He rallied with 68-70 on the weekend to finish sixth. He was in seventh place through two rounds of the 2011 Masters after opening 71-68, but shot 72-73 on the weekend to fall to 15th. He was the 36-hole leader here last year, but closed 75-72 to finish 12th.
Couples has a 69.8 scoring average in the Masters' first two rounds since 2010. Saturday’s 77 was Couples’ fifth consecutive round of par or worse on the weekend at the Masters. He’s 9 over par in those five rounds.