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Eagle puts Frost one up on Couples

March 17, 2013|Steve Virgen
  • David Frost hits a second shot on the third hole during the second round.
David Frost hits a second shot on the third hole during the second round. (Harry How / Getty Images )

If the second round is any indication of what to expect from David Frost and Fred Couples on Sunday, then the final round of the Toshiba Classic should be one to watch. Or as Frost said, "it will be a fun day."

Frost sank a 15-foot eagle putt on No. 18 Saturday to take a one-shot lead over Couples, who has a strong backing from fans at Newport Beach Country Club.

"It was a day when Freddie and I battled it out," said Frost, a 10-time PGA Tour winner who has had six consecutive top-10 finishes on the Champions Tour. "We were on top of the leaderboard all day."

Frost shot a five-under-par 66 and is at 13 under after two rounds. Couples also shot a 66. Jim Gallagher Jr., who needs a win to remain exempt on the Champions Tour, is in third at eight under after carding a 68.

Couples, a 15-time winner on the PGA Tour, highlighted by his 1992 Masters victory, just missed a 35-foot putt for eagle on No. 18 and settled for a two-foot birdie putt, opening the door for Frost.

The 53-year-old South African usually responded well against Couples on Saturday. Each time Couples sank birdie putts on 10, 12 and 15, Frost followed with three birdies of his own.

"I know from what I see from him it's going to be good golf," said Couples, an eight-time winner on the Champions Tour, including here in 2010. "He's one ahead. I'm certainly not going to be able to shoot a 69 or 70 and win. I gotta shoot something very, very good maybe like today.

"He's going to play well, and I think I will too."

In addition to his eagle, Frost collected four birdies, three on the back nine, and one bogey. Couples, also 53, said he didn't play as well as his first round when he shot a 64. He had three birdies on the front nine, but the front also included two bogeys. He made up for it with four birdies on the back nine.

Couples says he feels healthy and has been trying to stay loose with extensive hitting, mostly with his wedge, on the practice range. The early cold temperatures can be challenging on his troublesome back. He's trying to become the second golfer to win twice at the Toshiba Classic.

Scott Hoch shot a 64, the low for the second round and his career best on the Champions Tour. He's at seven under, tied for fourth with Jay Haas, Bob Tway and D.A. Weibring.

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sports@latimes.com

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