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Originally published August 24, 2014 at 6:46 PM | Page modified August 25, 2014 at 10:42 AM

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Boeing Classic notebook: Fred Couples fires 66 on the final day of his hometown tournament

Seattle native vows to keep playing in the Boeing Classic for six or seven more years


Special to The Seattle Times

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SNOQUALMIE — On Military Appreciation Day, Fred Couples shot 66 and pledged allegiance to the Boeing Classic.

“The Boeing Classic is a tournament I hope to play for six or seven more years,” said Couples, 54, who grew up on Beacon Hill and calls Seattle “the only place I really know.”

Couples, who now lives in Santa Monica, Calif., said, “I don’t think I’m going to be playing too much more golf, but I’ll always come here to play.”

After two 1-under rounds of 71 that left him out of contention, Couples showed the home crowd Sunday why he is in the World Golf Hall of Fame. The 66 lifted him into a tie for 15th place.

Couples said inability to play the par 5s well continued to hurt him in his hometown tournament.

“I butcher the par 5s every single year,” said Couples, whose previous finishes in the tournament have been third, tied for 16th, an injury withdrawal after one shot and another third with a final-round 66 last year.

This year, he played the four par-5 holes in 4 under over the three rounds, which might be good for weekend golfers but doesn’t cut it on the Champions Tour where most par 5s are considered birdie holes. Nonetheless, Couples’ most spectacular shot Sunday was on a par 5 as he holed a bunker shot on No. 8 for a birdie.

Couples said playing in his hometown motivates him even though the scores haven’t reflected it.

“I seem to not play so well and try a little harder than I normally would,” he said. “If this was another tournament, today I’d just kind of walk around. But it’s where I grew up.”

Near three-peat for Coston

Blaine teaching pro Jeff Coston, who sank fairway shots from 113 and 118 yards in the first two rounds, almost canned one from 110 yards on the first hole Sunday.

“It went in the hole and came out,” he said.

Coston, who got into the tournament as an alternate when Andy Bean withdrew, shot par 72 for the second consecutive day after opening with a 4-under 68. His 212 total was good for a tie for 32nd and earned $12,628.

This was Coston’s fifth appearance in the Boeing Classic and first since 2009. He said he had “begged” unsuccessfully for a sponsor’s exemption the past three years. He said he hoped his performance this year makes him more appealing for any future considerations.

NOTES

• The third entry with ties to Washington, Seattle native Rick Fehr, shot 72 and finished tied for 72nd at 6-over 222. Fehr turns 52 this week and loses his two-year exemption on the Champions Tour.

Bobby Clampett and his wife, Marianna, piloted a private plane to Seattle from the tournament stop last week in Endicott, N.Y. They plan to fly to Calgary, Alberta, for the tournament this week.

• Thirty-four golfers went for the green over the canyon on the par-4 14th hole Sunday and Robin Freeman had the only eagle. It continued the streak of at least one eagle on the hole every year. Sunday, the other attempts to carry the canyon resulted in 17 birdies, 11 pars, four bogeys and a double bogey.

• Winner Scott Dunlap had a “deer delay” on the fifth hole. “What do they feed the deer around here?” he joked. “The deer where I come from (Duluth, Ga.) are skittish.”

• Dunlap was headed off to the Peter Frampton “Guitar Circus” concert Sunday night at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery and plans to attend the Mariners’ game Monday against Texas.

Bernhard Langer, a five-time winner on the Champions Tour this year, finished tied for 15th after a 70-71-67—208, his poorest performance ever in Seattle. It marked only the second time this year he has finished outside of the top 10 in 17 events.

Michael Allen birdied three holes — Nos. 1, 3 and 4 — all three rounds as he finished tied for 13th with a 68-69-70—207.



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