Frost tops Couples to win Regions Tradition
Birmingham, AL – David Frost closed with a 4-under 68 on Sunday to beat Fred Couples by a shot and win the Regions Tradition.
Frost, who won for the fifth time on the Champions Tour, finished the tournament at 16-under-par 272. This was his first major championship victory on either the PGA or Champions Tour.
"I obviously am delighted to have finally won a major tournament. I didn't ever think it would be easy and it wasn't easy, especially after the rain delay," Frost stated. "I thought it was quite unlucky on 17 to push my drive maybe three yards, maybe if it went one yard further it would have been over the bunker.
"Then on 18, I managed to hit a good drive and a good second shot in there, and then (Couples) goes and steps up as well on the 18th. All I could wish for was, if he makes his, I'm going to have to make mine. It does take more pressure off you if you do see it that way rather than not allowing yourself to think that he's going to make this putt and then it's a shock."
Couples, who finished fourth last year, also carded a 68 in the final round to end one back at minus-15 at Shoal Creek Club.
John Cook (66), the 2009 runner-up, and Esteban Toledo (67) shared third place at 13-under 275. Russ Cochran (67), Duffy Waldorf (70) and Michael Allen (70) were one stroke back at minus-12.
Tom Lehman, who had won this title the last two years, struggled to a 1-over 73 in the final round. He ended in a tie for 22nd at 6-under 282.
Frost led by one to start the final round and he quickly pushed his advantage to two with a birdie at the first. Couples answered with a birdie on the par-5 third, but he gave that right back as he bogeyed the fourth.
Couples briefly grabbed a share of the lead thanks to back-to-back birdies at six and seven. Frost moved back in front with a birdie on the par-3 eighth. Couples, who played alongside Frost, stumbled to a bogey at the ninth to head the back nine two behind.
Both Couples and Frost birdied the par-5 11th. Frost pushed his advantage to three as the birdied the 12th. However, the South African gave that right back with a bogey on the 13th. Couples then birdied the 15th to get within one.
Shortly after Couples' birdie putt, play was suspended due to a thunderstorm in the area.
When play resumed, Frost and Couples both birdied the par-3 16th. They matched pars on the last two holes to give Frost the title.
"On 18, I hit a good shot in and I hit an 8-iron. I was a little pumped up at that stage," Frost admitted. "I just hit an 8-iron as hard as I could and not try and hit an easy 7-iron, which you don't really want to do under pressure."
Couples, who has won two Champions Tour majors, finished second for a third time in a major on the senior circuit.
"I hit a terrible shot on 17. I smoked the drive down there and I just tried a shot that maybe was a drama ball, but under that kind of pressure, I think it was a mental wonder to not hit the green there and not make birdie," said Couples. "But he played very well. I gave him pretty much everything I had. I would say I hit some pretty good shots today. He stayed one ahead and that's where we ended up."
NOTES: Frost earned $335,000 for the win ... His best previous finish in a major was a playoff loss to Lehman at the 2010 Senior PGA Championship ... This was Frost's second win in his last seven starts ... Bernhard Langer, last year's runner-up, fired a 9-under 63 in the final round. That was the low round of the week and the best score posted since the tournament moved to Shoal Creek ... There was a 1-hour, 8-minute weather delay on Sunday ... The Champions Tour heads to Illinois for a new event, the Encompass Championship, in two weeks.