David Frost carded a final round 65 to complete a comfortable five shot victory over reigning Senior Open Champion Fred Couples in the Toshiba Classic at Newport Beach CC on the US Champions Tour.
European Senior Tour Member Frost tied the tournament record of 19 under par 194 set by Jay Haas in 2007 as he became only the second player in the event’s 19 year history after Nick Price in 2011 to win wire-to-wire.
The South African, who won the 2012 season-ending MCB Tour Championship on the Senior Tour, claimed his fourth Champions Tour victory and extended his fine start to the new season.
In four events so far this season, Frost has not finished outside of the top ten, posting ties for ninth, fifth and losing in a playoff to John Cook in Hawaii in the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
"I felt as good as I did the first two days," Frost said. "I really enjoyed the tussle with Freddy (Couples) out there."
"I've been playing really, really consistently and haven't had any of those ups and downs," said Frost. "I know they will come, but right now I am playing well."
Couples, the 2010 champion, began the day a stroke behind Frost and tied him with a birdie on the first hole. That was the last time Frost would relinquish the outright lead. He birdied the second and third holes to build a two-shot advantage and his lead never went lower than one the rest of the round.
"Freddy was the one they were rooting for," Frost said of playing with Couples. "Fortunately, my putter was a little hotter than his was. There was too much work for him. I wasn't really hitting bad shots."
After making a birdie on the tenth Couples had a chance to tie Frost again, but made a bogey two holes later and never recovered. Couples battled back pain for most of the day, especially on the back nine. After hitting an approach shot the 16th Couples dropped his club and bent over in obvious discomfort.
"I was feeling good, but then I got really, really stiff," Couples said. "I hit a lot of bad wedges. I hit a bad wedge on six and seven and 16. I was kind of flinching at it. They weren't very good swings either."
Haas, the 2007 winner, finished tied for third with Peter Senior at 11 under. Senior Tour Honorary Life Member Tom Watson finished fifth another stroke back, while Germany’s Bernhard Langer and Ireland’s Mark McNulty led the European challenge in a share of 20th position.