Pittsburgh, PA – Fred Couples birdied his final hole on Saturday to close out a 3-under 67 and grab a 2-stroke lead at the Senior Players Championship
Couples, who is seeking his third career major victory on the Champions Tour and his fourth overall, finished 54 holes at Fox Chapel Golf Club at a tournament-record 15-under-par 195.
Kenny Perry tied the lowest third-round score in tournament history with a 7- under 63 to jump into second place at 13-under, while Duffy Waldorf (66) sat alone in third at 11-under.
"If he shoots a crazy round of golf, I can't catch him, so kind of ball's in his court and I'm going to have to shoot a phenomenal round again, which three good low rounds in a row is tough to do," Perry said about trailing Couples.
Mike Goodes (65) and John Huston (68) shared fourth at 10-under 200.
Two-time winner this season Bernhard Langer also shot 63 earlier on Saturday to first set the mark Perry matched and grab a share of 11th place with Fred Funk (69) at minus-6.
Couples held a 4-stroke lead over Huston entering the third round after finishing his second round, which was suspended on Friday due to rain, Saturday morning at 12-under.
After trading a birdie at the second with a bogey at the third to remain there, Couples rolled in a birdie at the seventh to move to minus-13.
Huston, meanwhile, opened his third round with back-to-back birdies at the first and second before adding gains at the seventh and ninth to pull within a stroke of the lead.
Couples then 3-putted for bogey at the 10th to meet Huston at 12-under, and the duo was met there by Perry as he tore through his first 12 holes with birdies at Nos. 2, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 12.
Perry kept his momentum going with another gain at the 14th to take the outright lead, but he was joined at 13-under by Couples following his birdie at the 14th.
The 2011 Senior Players Championship winner made it two in a row with another birdie at the 15th to again grab the outright lead for good.
Couples closed with a birdie at the last to extend his lead to two strokes heading into Sunday's final round.
"Now tomorrow I have to go out and probably battle with, I don't know, maybe -- if I play well, there's maybe six or seven guys," said Couples. "If someone shoots 8-under and they're 9-under, they can get to 17-under. But if I go out and play well, I have a great shot at winning. I'm certainly not going to be thinking about second place tomorrow when I play, I'm well past that."
Perry would par his final four holes to remain in second place, while Huston fell off the pace with bogeys at the 17th and 18th.
NOTES: Couples' major victories also include the 1992 Masters and the 2012 Senior British Open Championship ... Couples is trying to join Arnold Palmer (1984, 85) and Dave Stockton (1992, 94) as the only people to win this tournament multiple times ... Couples has held the lead seven times heading into the final round of the Champions Tour and has won five of those opportunities ... Russ Cochran withdrew during the third round with a wrist injury ... In five of the last six years at this tournament, the winner has come from the final group, including the last three.