If you like your golf heroes with more than a touch of gray hair, a laid-back disposition, and smooth tempo, then the first round of the 2010 Masters was your kind of day, and easy-going Freddie Couples is your kind of player.
Couples, the winner of the 1992 Masters, had one heck of a Thursday. He simply fashioned a six-under-par 66 and sits alone atop the leaderboard of 2010's first major championship.
The hottest player in golf left the over-50 confines of the Champions Tour and showed that when you're hot it doesn't matter where you're playing.
The guy who's been scorching the senior circuit looked darn good during his first 18 holes at Augusta National.
"Today was one of those things," he said after the round. "I've been driving it fairly long and straight."
Long and straight are two great ingredients at Augusta.
"If I can still putt," Couples declared, "well, I still gotta be some kinda factor. I know the course well. If I putt well, I should shoot in the 60s."
Couples was staring 65 in the eyes at the final hole, but his eighth bid for birdie missed short.
"I was hoping to get to seven-under but I hit the putt a little weak," he offered.
It was one of the few weak shots Couples hit today.
He fashioned seven birdies and a single bogey to lead the field on a day that saw at least three different playing conditions. An afternoon front brought strong winds that were short-lived.
"The wind went down," Couples said. "When the sun doesn't scorch the course, you have a chance to make birdies."
Freddie earned his share, and it put him a single shot ahead of a man 10 years his senior, the amazing Tom Watson. Watson, the man who nearly made history in the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry, took advantage of the conditions and shot a 67.
And compared to Watson, Couples is a mere whipper-snapper.
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