1987: Fred Couples wins the Byron Nelson Classic in a playoff over Mark Calcavecchia

Fred Couples

Fred Couples takes the Byron Nelson Classic in a Playoff

On this day, In 1987 Fred Couples parred the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat Mark Calcavecchia and capture the $108,000 Byron Nelson Golf Classic. It was Couples’ third PGA Tour career victory and his first in over three years.

Couples said he was relaxed during the third playoff on his career…

”The playoff is the easy part,” he said. ”You just have to beat one guy. The hard part is getting in there.”

Calcavecchia, who made up six shots to tie Couples, bogeyed the 415-yard par-4 hole after he got into a grass bunker on his second shot. His third shot was long and a 20-foot par putt was just inches short. Couples birdied the first hole of the playoff with a 6-footer. But Calcavecchia exploded from a trap and holed a 3-footer, also getting a birdie 4 on the hole, the 16th, a 554-yarder.

Both players scrambled for pars on the second extra hole, a 217-yard par 3. Couples got it up and down from a sand bunker. His 5-foot putt rolled around the hole before it went in. Calcavecchia got it up and down from a grass bunker, tapping in a 2-footer for par.

Calcavecchia made four consecutive birdies on the back nine to tie Couples at 266 with a final-round six-under-par 64. Couples, who had a two-shot lead over Bob Lohr and Ben Crenshaw going into the final round, shot a 70. Calcavecchia, the 1987 Honda Classic champion, and Couples each tied the Nelson 72-hole record.

Couples hadn’t won since the 1984 Tournament Players Championship. His other victory was in the 1983 Kemper Open. Calcavecchia had to pass nine players to catch Couples. Calcavecchia was at the cut of 139 after the first two rounds.

”I wasn’t even thinking about winning when the day began,” Calcavecchia said. ”I have to be happy with how far I came from behind, shooting 63 and 64 the last two days.”

Calcavecchia birdied the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes to shoot a four-under-par 31 on the incoming nine of the par-70 Tournament Players Course at Las Colinas.

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