- Associated Press - Saturday, April 7, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - Well, that was fun while it lasted.

A day after turning the clock back 20 years and grabbing a share of the lead at the Masters, Freddie Couples looked more suited for the Champions Tour than a green jacket Saturday. The 52-year-old blew up with a 75, and is barely within sight of the leaders going into Sunday’s final round.

“My only excuses were some of the swings I made,” Couples said. “I actually felt pretty good. I’m tired now, but I felt pretty good.”

Playing on the 20th anniversary of his green jacket, the Augusta National fan favorite heard cheers from every corner of the course. Forget these young phenoms. It was the grey-haired guy with the West Coast cool who the fans were pulling for.

“They’re yelling for everyone,” Couples said. “I wish a couple of them would have come out and played a few shots for me today.”

Couples wasn’t the only one going in the wrong direction on Moving Day. Jason Dufner, his co-leader after the second round, finished his round with back-to-back bogeys and also signed for a 75. Rory McIlroy, whose green jacket was being measured until his infamous back-nine implosion last year, posted a 42 on the front nine.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, who began the day two strokes off the lead, tumbled out of contention with five bogeys on the front nine.

Of course, nobody had the crowd behind them like Couples.

His day started going downhill with a pair of bogeys on the first two holes. But to hear Couples tell it, it really disintegrated on No. 5, after he hit a wonderful drive into the middle of the fairway. Standing 175 yards from the hole with a 7 iron in hand, he hit a huge hook into the first cut of rough, came up short on the chip and needed three more to get down.

“A 6 from 175 yards in the fairway, that’s high school material,” Couples said. “And I panicked a little there.”

Driving the ball well _ he hit 12 of 14 fairways _ Couples got back within three shots of the lead with birdies on Nos. 8, 11 and 12. Was he ready to make another run for the ages?

Not really. He missed a 6-footer for birdie on 13 and then, with the leaders starting to make birdies in front of him, he tried to clear the water from 255 yards out on the par-5 15th.

“I was trying to cut it into the bunker” on the right side of the green, Couples said, “and I just kind of hit it straight.”

Straight into the water. A few minutes later, he was tapping in for 6 _ his third of the day.

“I’m fairly disappointed,” Couples said. “I drove the ball really, really well. I stood there with the perfect clubs and I look back, and I see three sixes. That’s pretty bad.”

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