Couples closes out Armour for first Champions Tour title
Fred Couples gave the attention-starved Champions Tour a big boost.
The 50-year-old star won the ACE Group Classic on Sunday for his first victory on the 50-and-over tour, holding off Tommy Armour III by a stroke.
Never miss a local story.
Couples closed with an 8-under 64 to finish at 17-under 199 at The Quarry in Naples, Fla., while Armour — making his Champions Tour debut — matched the tour record for lowest score in relation to par with an 11-under 61.
Couples made a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 17 and a tap-in par on 18 to wrap his first official victory since the PGA Tour's 2003 Houston Open.
"That's a long time," Couples said. "I am very excited that I won and I'll keep trying to win out here and I have a couple chances on the PGA Tour to make the cut. That's really not the idea of fun."
Couples and Armour, friends since college, had some fun earlier in the week, exchanging text messages.
"And then three days later I wasn't all that thrilled about the text when he was 11-under par after 53 holes," Couples said.
Armour started his charge with an eagle on the par-5 seventh, and birdied Nos. 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17.
"I wish he would've shot two shots higher," Armour joked about Couples.
Armour tied Couples with the birdie on No. 17.
"I hit an iron on the 15th green and I looked at the leader board and I was tied and seriously was shocked," Couples said.
After the second round was halted due to darkness Saturday night, Couples came back to play five holes Sunday morning to complete a 67 and take a two-stroke lead over Dan Forsman. Couples birdied four of the first five holes in the final round to push his advantage to five strokes — six over Armour.
Verdasco tops Roddick in San Jose final
Second-seeded Fernando Verdasco rallied to beat top-seeded Andy Roddick 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 Sunday in the SAP Open in San Jose, earning his fourth career title. Verdasco had lost 15 straight matches against top-10 players before breaking through against seventh-ranked Roddick. Verdasco became the first Spaniard to win a title in the Bay Area since Manuel Santana did it in 1964 in Berkeley. Verdasco lost the first two points on his service game, before winning the final four. His 141 mph ace made it 30-all and Roddick followed by hitting a forehand long off a 93 mph second serve. Verdasco then closed it out his 15th ace.
"He has game," Roddick said. "He has improved. The knock on him a couple of years ago was he could hit the ball a ton but he would get in his own way sometimes. He's definitely been improving."
Dementieva takes title in Paris
Top-seeded Elena Dementieva recovered from a set down to beat Lucie Safarova 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Open GDF Suez on Sunday. It was the second victory of the season for the world's No. 7-ranked player, who won earlier this year in Sydney. Dementieva finished off her 16th professional title in 2 hours, 17 minutes. "I'm just so happy," said Dementieva, the 2008 Olympic champion. "It was probably one of the most difficult wins in my life." The 28-year-old Dementieva, who played three consecutive three set matches in Paris, said her pugnacity allowed her to win the title. "In a match, there is no time to think negative," she said. "You have to fight."
Another dud from Stardom Bound
Long-shot Striking Dancer rallied for a 1½ -length win and her first stakes victory Sunday in the $150,000 La Canada Stakes for 4-year-old fillies at Santa Anita. Primarily a turf horse but racing Sunday on Santa Anita's synthetic surface, Striking Dancer sat sixth at the halfway point under jockey Alex Solis but moved up to fourth on the turn and stormed home for the win in 1:48.48. Favorite Stardom Bound, the champion juvenile filly of 2008, was never a factor and had to rally to finish seventh. She is winless in four starts since she was bought by IEAH Stables for $5.7 million in March.
Diamondbacks, Jackson agree on deal
Right-hander Edwin Jackson and the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to a $13.35 million, two-year deal Sunday, avoiding an arbitration hearing. Jackson went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 33 starts for the Tigers last season, making his first All-Star team. He was acquired in a three-team deal in December that also moved All-Star center fielder Curtis Granderson from Detroit to the New York Yankees.
Williams wins 47th career PBA title
Walter Ray Williams Jr. won his second U.S. Bowling Congress Masters title Sunday for his record 47 PBA Tour victory, beating top-seeded Chris Barnes 290-217 at the National Bowling Stadium. "This is just another little feather. It's just awesome," said Williams, who also beat Barnes in the 2004 USBC Masters final. "It's hard to explain it better than that. To win any tournament is awesome, and the bigger ones are even better." The victory also was Williams' eighth career major title, tying him with Pete Weber and Mike Aulby for second place on the career list, two behind Earl Anthony.
Adu scores first goal in Greece
American forward Freddy Adu has scored his first goal in Greece for Aris, helping his team to a 2-1 comeback victory over visiting Ergotelis. Adu made a perfectly timed run to meet a cross from Darcy Neto and slot the ball into the net from close range in the 45th minute. The 20-year-old Adu has been loaned to Aris through June from Portugal's Benfica.
The last word
Florida State legend Bobby Bowden said he turned down the role of figurehead football coach and retired instead:
"The ambassador-coach was something below my dignity. It reminded me of Barney Fife. They gave him a gun, but they won't let him put the bullet in there."