Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

The Loop

Couples Builds Confidence in Houston

April 05, 2008

HUMBLE, Tex. -- Nine-hole scores of 29 tend to brighten one's outlook, and though Fred Couples isn't necessarily envisioning a second green jacket, he has expectations beyond extending his cut streak at the Masters to 24.

"If I can go putt well I can compete," Couples said Saturday, after shooting a 67 that included a seven-under-par 29 on his second nine (the front nine) at Redstone G.C. The surge moved him into the top 10 at the Shell Houston Open.

"I feel like I'm playing pretty well. I feel like I can go out and shoot under par again."

Couples, 48, spent five days last week working with Butch Harmon at his golf school in Las Vegas, and is attempting to rein in his miscreant backswing. "I get long and drop underneath and hit them high and to the right," he said.

The sessions with Harmon were designed to prepare Couples for the Masters, but the fact that he's already seen a payoff has him looking forward to a good week at Augusta National.

"My goal is to go play and do well," he said. "And if I happen to make the cut one more time, that's a nice thing." But, he cautioned, if he went there simply with a goal of making the cut, he might put himself in jeopardy of missing it.

"My goal is to go play in the tournament and do well," he said.

--John Strege