Fred Couples carded a second-round 69 and will enter the final round of the Chubb Classic tied for the lead with Robert Karlsson on 12-under par.
Couples, who posted a 63 on day one at Tiburon’s acclaimed Black Course, finished with one bogey against four birdies, highlighted by two straight gains on 17 and 18 to secure a tee time in the final pairing.
“I saw a leaderboard late. The guys in front of us all played pretty well,” said Couples.
“I got off to not a slow start, I just didn’t make many birdies or hit any really, really good shots. But finished strong, and I’m tied with Robert with a handful of guys very, very close.
“It was a good birdie on the last. I didn’t hit the ball poorly, you’ve just got to get it in the right spots. I’ve got to play the par-5s better tomorrow, but I birdied — I guess I only got one of them, so one birdie on the four of them is not good enough.
“But tomorrow will be a different day. I’ll have to play pretty well, and you have to make those putts against those guys.”
Karlsson, 50, produced a second-straight round of 66, which featured an eagle on the par-5 9th hole, and a near hole-out eagle two holes later on No. 11, leading to a tap-in birdie. The Swede added a birdie on the final hole to join Couples atop the leaderboard.
“I probably actually hit the ball a little bit better today than I did yesterday,” said Karlsson. “A couple of bad shots, but that always happens.
“I’m just enjoying playing golf again. It’s been a long time since November it feels like when we had sort of a good streak going. I just used the last six weeks trying to prepare for a long season ahead, and kind of just happy to get going.”
One off the pace was a threesome which included Steve Stricker (67), Bernhard Langer (68) and Alex Cejka, who carded a low-round 65.
Langer nearly made it into the lead pack but just missed a 20-footer for eagle on the par-5 finale.
In all, eight players were separated by just four shots heading into Sunday’s final round in Naples.
The other chasers inside that group include Gene Sauers (69) who was three back at 9 under, one clear of Kevin Sutherland (66) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (67).
2021 CHUBB Classic
Top-5 Leaders: Round 2
1. Fred Couples -12 (-3)
1. Robert Karlsson -12 (-6)
3. Bernhard Langer -11 (-4)
3. Steve Stricker -11 (-5)
3. Alex Cejka -11 (-7)
Material from PGA Tour Media & Communications was used to compile report.