Originally created 06/12/04

Pain-free Couples leads



HARRISON, N.Y. - Dr. Snowball might be making house calls next week at Shinnecock Hills if Fred Couples keeps playing like this.

After night and morning acupuncture sessions with Halina Snowball in Greenwich, Conn., the 44-year-old Couples shot a bogey-free 6-under-par 65 on Friday to take the second-round lead in the Buick Classic.

"As soon as I left her office yesterday, I didn't have any pain in my back," the 1992 Masters Tournament champion said. "I don't get it, but I'm going to keep trying it. To me, it's unbelievable what they can do."

Coming off a second-place finish last week in the Memorial, Couples birdied the final two holes at Westchester Country Club to take a one-stroke lead over Vijay Singh, Fredrik Jacobson and playing partner Luke Donald.

"I've kept the ball in play, which is the key here," said Couples, who played with acupuncture pins in his ears.

Couples' wife, Thais, tried to talk him into withdrawing Wednesday night to rest his back for the U.S. Open next week at Shinnecock Hills.

"I snuck out of there Thursday when she was still sleeping," Couples said. "She's downtown with the kids now. She'll come home and I'll tell her I'm leading the tournament and she's going to have a heart attack."

Jacobson finished with 69, Donald had 66 and Singh had 70 a day after his blistering 8-under-par 63.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Parkville, Mo., Andy Bean, John Harris and Allen Doyle tied the course record with 7-under-par 65s and shared the first-round lead at the Bayer Advantage Celebrity Pro-Am.

Mark James and Morris Hatalsky were a shot back, and six players were two back.

Augusta's 13-year-old Alina Lee, playing in the pro-am portion of the tournament, teamed with Bruce Summerhays to shot a best-ball 66. They are tied for 41st place, seven shots off the lead. Summerhays shot 72.

Bean was back in contention one week after being forced to withdraw from the final round of the Farmers Charity Classic because of an allergic reaction to food he had for breakfast. Tied for the lead heading into the final round, Bean passed out in the caddie tent and could not tee off, missing out on the chance for his first victory since the 1986 Byron Nelson Classic.

"I won't be having English muffins and sausage for breakfast," Bean joked Friday.

LPGA TOUR: In Wilmington, Del., the second round of the LPGA Championship was postponed after steady, overnight rain filled bunkers with water and left DuPont Country Club saturated.

The 144-player field will play the second round today.

Jennifer Rosales holds a one-stroke lead after one round.

EUROPEAN TOUR: In Gleneagles, Scotland, Miles Tunnicliff shot 4-under-par 68 to extend his lead at the Scottish PGA Diageo Championship to five strokes through two rounds.

Tunnicliff is at 9-under for two rounds. Nick O'Hearn, who shared a one-stroke lead with Tunnicliff entering the second round, shot 73 and is tied with Graeme McDowell (71).