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Northern Trust Open: Momentum shifts and it's far away from Couples

February 20, 2011 | 12:47 pm

In the space of two holes Fred Couples, who had started his day with a trio of birdies, has given away three shots to his closest competitor and suddenly finds himself in third place in the final round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club, three behind Aaron Baddeley and one behind surging Vijay Singh.

Couples bogeyed the par-three sixth hole and double-bogeyed the par-four seventh hole to fall to nine-under par. Meanwhile Baddeley, the 30-year-old Australian who had led after the third round, birdied the seventh to get to 12-under while Singh, who turns 48 Tuesday, just birdied the eighth hole to move to 10-under par and is all alone in second place.

Couples is tied with playing partner Kevin Na, who has two birdies and two bogeys so far Sunday. Making a good move this morning is another Aussie, Robert Allenby, who recorded a three-under 32 on the front nine to get into a four-way tie for fifth.

Though they won't be able to contend, David Duval is working on a round of four-under through 12 holes, and defending champion Steve Stricker, who sweated out making the cut, is three-under through 12. Both are tied for 14th at six-under.

-- Diane Pucin