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Friday, November 2, 2012 - Page updated at 08:00 p.m.
Couples trails leader by 2 shots after 66
By The Associated Press
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Defending champion Jay Don Blake was back on top in the Champions Tour finale. Fred Couples also found himself on the leaderboard in his first tour start in nearly 10 weeks.
Blake birdied three of the final four holes for a 6-under-par 64 and a one-stroke lead Thursday in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Last year, he won at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
Gary Hallberg shot a 65 in perfect conditions on a warm day at Desert Mountain, and Couples was another stroke back along with Jay Haas, Olin Browne and Bill Glasson.
Couples is playing for the first time since a back injury forced him to withdraw during the first round of the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge in late August. The Seattle native completed a round for the first time since winning the Senior British Open in July for his second victory of the year.
"Beginner's luck," Couples joked after birdieing the final two holes. "I hit the ball solid. I'm thrilled to death to be 4 under."
Kirk Triplett, a graduate of Pullman High School, shot a 67.
Charles Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer birdied the final two holes for a 69, second-place Tom Lehman shot a 68, and third-place Roger Chapman had a 69.
Langer has a 211-point lead over Lehman and 657-point advantage over Chapman in the race for the $1 million annuity.
Scott, Oosthuizen share lead
SHENZHEN, China — Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott shot 7-under 65s to lead the HSBC Champions after the first round.
Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open winner, played a bogey-free round with seven birdies, while Scott finished his round with two birdies and an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole. Two-time HSBC Champions winner Phil Mickelson was in a tie for third, one shot back, along with Bubba Watson, Peter Hanson and Shane Lowry.
Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor had a 79.
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