PITTSBURGH — Fred Couples watched Kenny Perry relentlessly sprint up the leaderboard Saturday in the Senior Players Championship and figured it was time for his putter to start cooperating.
Three birdies over the final five holes restored some order as Couples took a step closer to his first victory of the season.
The Hall of Famer from Seattle finished with a 3-under 67 and was at 15-under 195 at rain-soaked and toothless Fox Chapel, two strokes clear of the hard-charging Perry. Couples already has three runner-up finishes this season. He has no plans to make it four.
“If I go out and play well, I have a great shot at winning,” Couples said. “I’m certainly not going to be thinking about second place.”
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It appeared that’s all the rest of the field was playing for after Couples ripped off seven birdies in 11 holes of the second round Friday before a midafternoon downpour halted play for the day.
The deluge cooled off Couples a bit. He two-putted from 60 feet on the par-3 third when he returned to the course Saturday morning, then made five straight pars before finishing his round off with a birdie on the par-4 ninth for an 8-under 62.
Tying the record for the lowest score ever in a major on the Champions Tour should have provided Couples with some breathing room. Instead, Perry made it close.
He made three birdies and an eagle over the final six holes of the second round for a 7-under 63. He backed it up six hours later with another flawless 63, using his length off the tee and a new putter to chase down the front-running Couples.
Pullman High graduate Kirk Triplett was 55th with a 5-over 215 after a 73 in the third round.
Four-way tie at Congressional
BETHESDA, Md. — Roberto Castro went from a share of the lead to five shots behind in three holes. He finished the third round of the AT&T National by hitting a 5-iron left of the 18th green and into the water. And he still managed to be part of a four-way tie for the lead.
“Wild day,” he said.
Not just for Castro. It was like that for nearly everyone Saturday at Congressional.
Bill Haas hit a wedge into the water and made triple bogey on the 11th hole to fall five shots behind. Four holes and three birdies later, he had the outright lead. He was helped by Andres Romero, who squandered a three-shot lead in two holes by hitting his tee shot into a creek.
James Driscoll must have felt as if he missed out on all the fun, posting his third straight round in the 60s to join the leaders.
Castro salvaged an even-par 71 and claim a share of the lead with Haas (68), Driscoll (68) and Romero, who closed with six pars for a 70.
Former Husky golfer Richard Lee was 27th with an even-par 213 after a 71 in the third round.
Park set for history
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Inbee Park placed herself one round from making history and winning the first three majors of the year.
The top-ranked Park had a four-stroke lead through three rounds at the U.S. Women’s Open. She shot 1-under 71 on Saturday in harsh conditions at Sebonack and was 10 under for the tournament.
Fellow South Korean I.K. Kim had a 73 to remain in second but lost two strokes to Park.
No one has ever won the first three majors in a year when there were at least four.
“Yeah, it will be a big day,” Park said. “But it’s just a round of golf.”