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Couples pushes lead to 5 in San Fran
San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Fred Couples fired a 3-under-par 68 on Saturday to move ahead by five shots entering the final round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Couples, who is seeking his first Champions Tour win of the season, sits at 15-under-par 198 through 54 holes at TPC Harding Park.
Mark O'Meara shot 67 to move into second place at 10-under 203, while defending champion Tom Lehman carded a 65, the low round of the day, to climb into a share of third at 9-under. Lehman is tied with first-round leader Peter Senior (72) and Bart Bryant (70).
"I've been hitting a lot of greens, I just need to make some putts," O'Meara said in a televised interview.
Mike Goodes (69) is alone in sixth place at minus-8.
Bernhard Langer shot even-par 71 and dropped into a tie for seventh place alongside Charles Schwab Cup points leader Kenny Perry (67) and Rocco Mediate (66) at 7-under-par 206.
Langer is the only player in the field with a chance to overtake Perry and win the Charles Schwab Cup, but the odds are slim, as he needs to win the tournament and have Perry finish in a five-way tie for fourth or a two-way tie for fifth.
"My goal was to finish top-5 this week," said Perry. "To shoot 4-under today ... If I shoot another round like that tomorrow I've got a great shot of accomplishing my goal.
"I'm so close. Here I am one round away. It's all gonna come down to 18 holes of golf and I gotta figure out how to make it happen to be one of the greatest accomplishments of my life."
Couples used consecutive 65s to grab a 2-stroke lead at the tournament's halfway point and he never relinquished his advantage during Saturday's third round.
An opening bogey proved Couples' only dropped shot of the day, as he tallied birdies at Nos. 4 and 9 to turn with a 4-stroke lead at 13-under.
Couples maintained the momentum on the back nine, sending a short chip at the par-5 10th within five feet and tapping in for birdie to reach minus-14.
At the par-4 14th, Couples dropped his approach within eight feet and rolled home the slow birdie putt to move ahead by five at 15-under. He parred out from there, getting up-and-down from the rough at the last to maintain his 5- shot lead.
"I'm hitting the ball better and when I'm missing them, except for (the 18th), I'm missing them in easier spots and I am getting them up-and-down," said the winning Presidents Cup captain.
NOTES: Couples is an eight-time Champions Tour winner. He won 15 times on the PGA Tour, including the Masters in 1992 ... On Friday, Fred Funk carded a hole-in-one at the par-3 eighth with a 4-iron from 204 yards. It marked the seventh ace in the history of the tournament and the third at TPC Harding Park ... Perry, who has won three events this season including consecutive majors at the Constellation Senior Players Championship and U.S. Senior Open Championship, leads the Charles Schwab Cup standings by 612 points over Langer.
11/02 19:31:01 ET
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