SNOQUALMIE — It would be easy to assume that Seattle native Fred Couples wanted it too much, to finally win a Tour event in front of his hometown fans.
But Couples, 59, said that was not the cause for what had seemed unimaginable several hours before, when he held a five-shot lead entering the final round Sunday of the Boeing Classic at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge.
“It was really a very poor round of golf with my irons,” said Couples, who followed his magical 63 Saturday with a 76, leaving him tied for third, six shots behind. “At the end, it was just like, ‘Let me just finish and get the hell out of here.'”
Meanwhile, playing two groups in front of Couples, Brandt Jobe made five consecutive birdies to open the round, then continued his great play to come from seven shots back and win by three over Tom Pernice Jr.
Not bad for a guy who began the day thinking his best hope was second place.
Jobe was not the only one surprised. What appeared to be the biggest crowd in Boeing Classic history came out, hoping to root their favorite player to a victory.
But after Couples birdied the first hole, the rooting, cajoling and encouragement were unable to get him out of a funk as he made five bogeys and not another birdie in his final 17 holes.
Couples’ five-shot lead was gone by the time he finished his ninth hole.
After acing the par-3 ninth Saturday, Couples hit his tee shot in the lake Sunday. He escaped with a bogey when he made a 10-foot putt after a great shot from the drop zone.
Still, it dropped him into a tie with Jobe, who played the front nine at 6-under par.
When Jobe birdied the ninth, he looked up at the scoreboard and noticed he was just a shot behind.
“I birdied the first five holes and I thought, ‘Well, at least that’s making a little noise,'” Jobe said. “Didn’t know what was going on (with Couples). I guess I turned at 6 under and then I looked up at the board and I’m like, ‘Oh … this is kind of interesting.’
“So, back nine I just said, give yourself as many chances as you can.”
He got a good one on the 14th hole, making a 12-foot birdie putt at nearly the same time Couples was missing a 15-foot par putt on the 13th. Suddenly, Jobe was up by two shots. It became three when Jobe rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 17, and it wasn’t long after that he was celebrating his second victory on PGA Tour Champions.
Jobe, who won 12 times internationally but never on the PGA Tour (his best finish was second), said he entered the tournament without high expectations, having not played in six weeks and having a new caddie, Mark Schoenwald.
“I kind of had a mindset all week that I’ll just kind of hit the fairways,” said Jobe, 54. “I haven’t played a ton of golf, believe it or not, so I was kind of being very conservative this week.”
Couples played spectacular golf the first two rounds, making 14 birdies and the hole-in-one for a tournament record of 16 under through 36 holes.
And the Sunday before, he shot a final-round 63 in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open to rally for second. Anything close to that would have been enough to win the Boeing Classic.
That it didn’t happen spoiled what surely would have been quite a celebration.
“Obviously if I would have won today, it would have been unreal, but when you play bad, you could be in Japan and it’s not much fun,” he said.
It was great fun for Jobe. He began the week going to Seahawks camp and playing catch with Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
He ended his week here holding a trophy and sporting the aviator’s jacket that goes to the winner, not to mention $315,000.
“It was a very special week for me,” Jobe said.