Couples hoping to get over hump at U.S. Senior Open

OMAHA, Neb. — Fred Couples feels like he’s overdue for a win. He’s played seven events on the Champions Tour this year, has been in the top five in six of them and comes into the U.S. Senior Open on Thursday off three straight runner-up finishes.

OMAHA, Neb. — Fred Couples feels like he’s overdue for a win.

He’s played seven events on the Champions Tour this year, has been in the top five in six of them and comes into the U.S. Senior Open on Thursday off three straight runner-up finishes.

“I would like to win something,” he said Wednesday, adding that he even came in second in a member-guest tournament in California last month.

Couples’ most recent victory was just under a year ago at the 2012 Senior British Open. He looked ready to win two weeks ago in the Senior Players Championship, but a back-nine collapse left him tied for second behind Kenny Perry.

Couples said his bothersome back is feeling fine, so if the man nicknamed “Boom Boom” for his prodigious drives can find the fairway at Omaha Country Club, no one would be surprised if this is the week he breaks through.

“Fred still hits the ball a tremendous distance,” Bernhard Langer said. “He hasn’t lost any distance, maybe gained some with the equipment and all that. He’s capable of producing very low scores. Wherever he tees up, he’s one of the main favourites, no doubt about it.”

Couples, Perry, Langer, Tom Watson and David Frost are among the top contenders at the 6,700-yard, par-70 Omaha Country Club.

The fourth of the five senior majors will be a test of stamina for the 50-and-over golfers, especially with weekend highs forecast in the low 90s with high humidity. The course is hilly, featuring elevation and topographical changes that belie the popular image of the central plains.

“Nebraska, you’d think flat and hot,” Perry said. “I got the hot part right, but it’s the hilliest golf course I’ve ever been on.”

Drives in the fairway will be at a premium with the rough cut high and the greens small and sloped. The 312-yard 13th hole is drivable, but the course features the second-longest par-3 in U.S. Senior Open history in the 230-yard third hole and the third-longest par-4 in the 494-yard 10th.

The 53-year-old Couples’ scaled-back schedule begins to ramp up now. After the U.S. Senior Open, he plays the British Open at Muirfield and Senior British Open at Royal Birkdale in consecutive weeks — “which might be a little much,” he said.

For a man with a notoriously bad back, the schedule is taxing, in no small part because of the challenge the Omaha Country Club presents. Even in the best of circumstances, golfers will find themselves with a good number of side-hill and downhill lies. And then there’s that gnarly, 4-inch rough.

“If I drive it in the rough and don’t have a great lie, I’m not going to do too much out of it,” Couples said. “I’ll probably play it safe.”

Roger Chapman will try to become the first defending champion to repeat since Allen Doyle in 2006. Chapman, who also won the Senior PGA Championship last year, has not been able to recapture his 2012 magic. He has one top-10 finish in 13 events.

Notable first-time entrants are Colin Montgomerie, who turned 50 last month and tied for ninth in the Senior Players Championship; Rocco Mediate, who lost a playoff to Tiger Woods in the classic 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines; and Duffy Waldorf, who has six top-10s in 11 Champions Tour events this year.

Perry, the Charles Schwab Cup points leader, is looking for his second win of the year in a senior major. He shot three straight rounds in the 60s to win the Senior Players Championship by 2 shots over Couples and Waldorf in Pittsburgh.

“Anything that has ’major’ attached to it was always my one goal,” Perry said. “Obviously, our majors out here probably are not looked upon like they are on the PGA Tour, but yet they’re still a major. It still will be attached to your name.”

Playing on the regular tour last week in West Virginia, Perry was 3 shots off the lead after two rounds of the Greenbrier Classic before ballooning to 73 on Saturday and finishing tied for 41st.

Watson shot in the 60s in three of his four rounds at the Greenbrier but tied for 38th after a 72 on Saturday. The 2014 Ryder Cup captain has two top-10 finishes in six Champions Tour events.

Just Posted

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Alberta’s declining COVID-19 numbers are a positive sign for the province. (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer down to 634 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone down to 2,054 active cases

Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Rylan Thiessen (26) guards the front of the net as goalie Connor Unger makes a save on Winnipeg Ice forward Skyler Bruce during a Western Hockey League game on April 14 at the Brandt Centre in Regina. Brandon won 5-3. (Keith Hershmiller Photography)
Two big trades provide stability for Red Deer Rebels

All Connor Ungar wanted was an opportunity and he’s finally found it.… Continue reading

(Screenshot).
Seven central Alberta charities benefit from community foundation grants

Seven central Alberta charities have received grants from the Red Deer and… Continue reading

Red Deer Gun Show organizer, Harold Drok, is concerned $1 fee from each ticket sale will go to Westerner Park once shows can be restarted there. This new policy replaces parking fees which will be waived for future Westerner Park events. (Black Press file photo)
Event organizer concerned about Westerner Park’s new parking fee model

A show organizer is concerned this could impact proceeds

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
Organizers of central Alberta anti-lockdown rodeo plead not guilty

Ty and Gail Northcott charged under the Public Health Act

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

An excavator works in the background as police establish a checkpoint on McClure Main in the Caycuse area on B.C.'s Vancouver Island, Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Police arrest five protesters for refusing to leave anti-logging blockades in B.C.

Police arrest five protesters for refusing to leave anti-logging blockades in B.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ceasefire needed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict to avoid loss of more civilians: PM

Ceasefire needed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict to avoid loss of more civilians: PM

Canadian Academy and other organizations champion Cancon through various campaigns

Canadian Academy and other organizations champion Cancon through various campaigns

FILE - Actor/comedian Charles Grodin, appears at a news conference announcing him as host of CNBC's new primetime show "Charles Grodin" in New York on Nov. 15, 1994. Grodin, the offbeat actor and writer who scored as a newlywed cad in “The Heartbreak Kid” and the father in the “Beethoven” comedies, died Tuesday at his home in Wilton, Conn. from bone marrow cancer. He was 86. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)
Charles Grodin, ‘Midnight Run,’ ‘Heartbreak Kid,’ star, dies

Charles Grodin, ‘Midnight Run,’ ‘Heartbreak Kid,’ star, dies

Sarah Polley, Jayne Eastwood among winners on night 2 of Canadian Screen Awards

Sarah Polley, Jayne Eastwood among winners on night 2 of Canadian Screen Awards

This image shows an assortment of gift options for dinner hosts, from left, Clark and Hopkins hot sauces, a Finamill spice grinder, sculptural candles from Greentree Home Candles, a Mosser Cake Stand topped with folded linen runners and a loaf of bread from Zingerman's, and a variety of Frank Lloyd Wright candles from the Art Institute of Chicago. (Cheyenne Cohen via AP)
Gathering again? Gifts to wow and thank your host

Gathering again? Gifts to wow and thank your host

FILE - This microscope image made available by the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research in 2015 shows human colon cancer cells with the nuclei stained red. Americans should start getting screened for colon cancer earlier, at age 45 instead of waiting until they're 50, according to new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, released on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (NCI Center for Cancer Research via AP, File)
Americans urged to get colon cancer screening earlier

Americans urged to get colon cancer screening earlier

Defense attorney Dick DeGuerin appears before Judge Mark E. Windham who denied an emergency motion by the defense team seeking to postpone the trial today. during the murder trial of Robert Durst Monday, May 17, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. The murder trial of the multimillionaire has resumed in Los Angeles County after a 14-month recess without the defendant present and with arguments about whether the case should continue at all. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool)
Prosecutor says Durst’s own words show his guilt in killings

Prosecutor says Durst’s own words show his guilt in killings

Most Read