Wins in 2nd
If 50 is the new 40, and if style
combined with substance counts for
anything, the Champions Tour has
just turned a corner now that Fred
Couples and Tommy Armour III have
started squaring off with each other.
Fred “Boom Boom” Couples
earned his first Champions Tour
victory Sunday, overcoming a record-
tying round by “TA3” to win the Ace
Group Classic in Naples, Fla.
Couples, who had a five-shot lead
at one point, had to make a 5-foot
birdie putt on No. 17 and a tap-in par
on the final hole for his first victory
since the 2003 Shell Houston Open.
“That’s a long time,” Couples said.
“I am very excited that I won and I’ll
keep trying to win out here, and I have
a couple chances on the PGA Tour to
make the cut. That’s really not the
idea of fun.”
The stylish Armour, who turned 50
in October, tied the Tour record for
lowest score in relation to par with an
11-under 61 but finished one back of
Couples, who shot an 8-under 64 to
finish at 17-under 199.
Couples and Armour, friends since
Fred Couples is congratulated by Dan Forsman.
college days, had some fun earlier in
the week exchanging text messages.
“And then three days later I wasn’t
all that thrilled about the text when
he was 11-under par after 53 holes,”
Scott Hoch, the 2008 champion,
finished third at 9 under for the tour-
nament. Bernhard Langer and Mike
Goodes tied for fourth at 8 under,
followed by Ronnie Black and Dan
Forsman at 7 under. Couples was in
contention in his Champions Tour
debut last month in the Mitsubishi
Electric Championship in Hawaii, but
Tom Watson birdied the last two holes
to beat him by a stroke. Couples won
$240,000 from the $1.6-million purse.
Click for results
Vince Covello of the United States
took advantage of a poor final round by
his countryman Hoyt McGarity, who led
for the first three days, to claim medal-
ist honors Friday at the 2010 Tour de
las Americas’ Qualifying School B.
Covello, a Philadelphia native, shot
par 72 on the final day, his highest
score of the week, to defeat McGarity
by one stroke. McGarity, the overnight
leader by four strokes, closed with an
untidy 77 at the par-72 Bonaventure
Country Club in Weston, Fla.
Covello finished the 72-hole qualifier
at 5-under-par 283.
It was not a total loss for McGarity,
who is from Monterey, Calif. In addi-
tion to securing TLA playing privileges
for 2010, by finishing in the top two he
joins Covello in earning exemptions for
the Nationwide Tour’s $600,000 Pacific
Rubiales Bogota Open presented by
Samsung and Comcell, March 4-7 at the
Country Club de Bogota in Colombia.
Only a stroke out of the top two was
Jamaica’s John Bloomfield, who carded
a final-round 70. Guatemala’s Pablo
Acuña, who started the day in a tie for
second, shot 76 and finished fourth.
Belgium’s Pierre Relecom, Colombia’s
Juan Pablo Luna and David Vanegas
finished in a three-way tie for fifth to
close out the top seven.
The top seven finishers claimed the
last exemptions for the Feb. 18-21 Abi-
erto Internacional de Golf II Copa An-
tioquia. The $220,000 event, co-sanc-
tioned by the TLA, European Challenge
and Canadian tours, will be played at
Club Campestre El Rodeo sede La Ma-
carena in Rio Negro, Colombia.