By Ann Liguori
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Fred Couples says he feels really young when he plays Augusta National. 20 years after Couples won The Masters in 1992, the 52-year-old finds himself tied for the lead with Jason Dufner at 5 under. When a reporter asked Couples if he thinks he can win, he replied with no hesitation, “yes, I feel I can!”
Couples shot a five-under-67 with seven birdies and two bogies, thrilling the galleries by draining long, dramatic birdie putts and hitting precise approach shots.
“I’m certainly not Rory McIlroy or Phil Mickelson but I certainly know this course well,” said Couples. “I just love it here. I love the week. For me to be here and be tied for the lead at this moment is incredible.”
Jason Dufner carded a 2 under 70, hanging on to the lead despite a bogie on the final hole.
Lee Westwood enjoyed the lead or a share of the lead most of the day until a double bogey on the 18th dropped him one behind into a 4-under group that includes Louis Oosthuizen, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Bubba Watson.
McIlroy finished with a 3 under 69 and when asked about Freddie Couples being in the lead, the 22-year-old replied, “He’s just cool. I hope I’m that cool when I’m 52, or whatever he is.”
Phil Mickelson shot a 4 under 68, including a birdie on 18, to rally back to 2-under for the tournament, only three shots back.
Tiger looked out of sorts. His driving woes continued, he missed birdie putt opportunities and as the afternoon progressed, he got worse, not better and lost his temper on several occasions. His carded a plus three, 73 and is 8 shots behind the leaders.
But the headlines belong to Freddie Couples, at least for a day. “Mr. Cool.” And what a leaderboard! Most of the marquee names are within striking distance!
Be sure to catch Ann’s reports from the Masters on WFAN. For more information on Ann, visit her web site at www.annliguori.com.
What’s your prediction for the weekend? Be heard in the comments below!