Couples grabs L.A. Open lead with 7-under

March 01, 1992

WAILEA, HAWAII LOS ANGELES H — LOS ANGELES -- Fred Couples, who seems to be hitting his prime as a golfer in his 30s, charged from five shots off the pace yesterday to pass the faltering Davis Love III in the Nissan Los Angeles Open.

Couples, who took charge in the third round two years ago and went on to win the L.A. Open, shot a 7-under-par 64 this time to go to 14-under at 199 through three rounds at Riviera Country Club.

Love had a 70 to fall back into a three-way tie for second at 200 with Tom Sieckmann and Sandy Lyle, who both had 66s.

Love was threatening to turn the tournament into a runaway before disaster struck on the 12th hole. He had gone to 17-under with a birdie on No. 11, but he triple-bogeyed the par-4, 413-yard 12th hole.

He pulled his drive to the right, where it clipped a tree and landed in the rough. Love then banged the ball into a tree trying to hit out of trouble and the ball wound up in a ditch. He blew his third shot and the ball remained in the ditch.

He hit his fourth shot back onto the fairway, but well short of the green, then chipped up 8 feet below the hole. Two putts then gave him an 7.

That nightmarish sequence trimmed what had been a substantial lead down to one shot, then Love bogeyed at No. 15 to fall back into a tie for the lead.

Couples, meanwhile, birdied the 16th hole to go up by a stroke and then parred out.

Sieckmann also went to 14-under with a birdie at No. 17, but he bogeyed the final hole to drop a shot behind.

Couples, 32, has made steady progress in the past few years, going to third on the 1991 money list with $791,749. He has won six events since joining the tour in 1981, including the L.A. Open in 1990.

"This is probably the best round I've played all year," Couples said. "I'm only hitting it where I want it two out of five times, but I'm not missing it too far off.

"The difference now is that if I don't play my best tomorrow [today], I know I can still handle the pressure. In '90 I absolutely needed to play my best in order to win."

Women's Kemper Open

WAILEA, Hawaii -- Dawn Coe won for the first time in nine years on the LPGA Tour, making birdies on two of last four holes to withstand a furious final challenge from Dottie Mochrie at the Women's Kemper Open.

"It feels awesome," Coe, 31, said after carding a 4-under-par 68 to win by a stroke. "I wanted to win so much, I just wanted to know what it felt like. Now I know -- it's great."

The Canadian finished the 54-hole tournament 13 under at 275, barely holding off Mochrie, whose final-round 64 set the Blue Course record at Maui's Wailea resort. It also was a career-best round for Mochrie.

"That's what I've been working toward for nine years," said Coe, who collected $75,000. "It's been a lot of hard work."

Among the Maryland players, former Kensington resident Michelle Mackall finished 75-282 for $6,164; Tina Barrett, of Baltimore, 69-284 for $5,189, and Kim Williams, Potomac, 74-292 for $716.

Mackall, in her third year on tour, had opened 71-67-70 and was one shot out of the lead at the start of the final round. She played the first eight holes even before slipping back on the early holes of the back nine.

Final scores (par 72) Dawn Coe, $75,000 68-70-69-68--275 Dottie Mochrie, $46,546 67-74-71-64--276

Michele M. Berteotti, $33,966 66-72-70-69--277 Dana Lofland, $26,418 71-68-73-66--278 Michelle McGann, $19,499 71-67-72-69--279 Cindy Rarick, $19,499 73-65-70-71--279 Brandie Burton, $13,963 70-71-71-68--280 Tammie Green, $13,963 71-70-70-69--280 Meg Mallon, $10,651 73-70-70-68--281 Betsy King, $10,651 71-70-70-70--281 Mitzi Edge, $10,651 70-71-70-70--281 Jane Crafter, $7,799 73-73-70-66--282 Helen Alfredsson, $7,799 68-74-72-68--282 Amy Benz, $7,799 74-72-67-69--282 Karen Davies, $7,799 72-68-70-72--282 Sally Little, $7,799 70-69-70-73--282 Karen Noble, $6,614 72-72-69-70--283 Patty Sheehan, $6,164 72-69-72-70--283 Liselotte Neumann, $6,164 73-74-65-71--283 Michelle Mackall, $6,164 71-67-70-75--283 Rosie Jones, $5,189 71-73-73-67--284 Tina Barrett, $5,189 72-72-71-69--284 Kris Tschetter, $5,189 73-71-69-71--284 Donna Andrews, $5,189 73-71-69-71--284 Juli Inkster, $4,428 75-72-69-69--285 Cindy Mackey, $4,428 71-74-69-71--285 Jane Geddes, $4,428 70-73-71-71--285 Laura Davies, $4,428 71-69-70-75--285 Deb Richard, $4,428 71-67-72-75--285

Pearl Sinn, $3,767 70-76-69-71--286 Danielle Ammaccapane, $3,767 71-73-70-72--286 Robin Walton, $3,767 71-70-73-72--286 Pat Bradley, $3,767 73-68-72-73--286

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