Fred Couples Wins 2010 Ace Group Classic

2010 Ace Group Classic champion Fred CouplesFred Couples (68-67-64=199) captured his first title on the Champions Tour by outlasting Tommy Armour III at The ACE Group Classic. Couples shot a bogey-free final round eight-under-par and needed every bit of it to beat Armour III by one stroke. It was his first official event victory since the 2003 Shell Houston Open on the PGA Tour.

Couples got off to a strong start with five birdies on the front nine, including three to start his round, which built him a six stroke lead over Armour III. As Couples made the turn, Armour III made his own charge, going 10-under over the final 13 holes to tie Couples on the back nine. Armour III finished with a course and tournament record 11-under 61.

“I was cruising along and I birdied the 12th hole, a par 5, and hit a really nice shot on 13 and then I birdied 14,” said Couples. “Then I hit an iron on the 15th green and I looked at the leaderboard and I was tied and seriously was shocked.”

On the 17th hole, Couples hit his approach shot to four feet, setting up a birdie that determined the final margin. He had eight birdies during the round. Couples earned $240,000 for the victory and 240 Charles Schwab Cup points to take the lead over Tom Watson in the season-long points competition.

It was Couples’ first full field event on the Champions Tour and he brought out golf fans of all ages. Playing in the last group, he reached the par-4 18th hole with standing room only crowds and galleries lining the length of the fairway.

“Well, you know, I was impressed with how many people were out there,” added Couples. “The best thing about the crowds is they're very supportive, they love golf in Naples and I don't know how many people were out there but it seemed like there were a lot.”

Armour III, making his Champions Tour debut, had nine birdies and an eagle in his final round. Couples and Armour III were the only two golfers to crack 10-under. Scott Hoch finished third at nine-under, while Bernhard Langer and Mike Goodes tied for fourth at eight-under.

The Quarry proved to be a stern challenge for the Champions Tour golfers over the course of the first two days, but ideal conditions on Sunday led to lower final round scores. The tournament scoring average was 73.05, one stroke over par.

Couples led all players in greens in regulation. He and Armour III posted 18 birdies to lead all players in that category for the week.

 

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