Robert Karlsson, Fred Couples tied for Chubb Classic lead

Robert Karlsson carded his second straight 6-under 66 and is tied for the lead with Fred Couples after two rounds of the Chubb Classic.

Robert Karlsson in action at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in January, 2021. - GETTY IMAGES

Robert Karlsson carded his second straight 6-under 66 and is tied for the lead with Fred Couples after two rounds of the Chubb Classic at Naples, Florida.

Both players are at 12-under 132, one shot ahead of Steve Stricker (67) and the German duo of Alex Cejka (65) and Bernhard Langer (68). Gene Sauers (69) is three shots back in sixth place after two trips around Tiburon Golf Club.

Karlsson had an eagle on the par-5, No. 9 to highlight a round that included five birdies and one bogey.

The 51-year-old from Sweden was pleased with the round as it comes in just his second tournament since last November. He went more than 3 1/2 months without playing prior to finishing in a tie for 30th at the Cologuard Classic in late February. So being 12-under through 36 holes and in contention for a title is a nice bonus, but he also feels the rust while meandering the course.

“I probably actually hit the ball a little bit better today than I did yesterday,” Karlsson said.

“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.”

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Couples had four birdies and one bogey on Saturday after beginning with a stellar bogey-free 63 that gave him the first-round lead. Couples couldn't build on Friday's round due to shooting par on each of the first 10 holes in the second round. But he birdied 17 and 18 to gain a share of the lead.

‘Good birdie’

“I got off to not a slow start, I just didn't make many birdies or hit any really, really good shots,” Couples said. “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 hole. 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.”

Cejka recorded nine birdies and two bogeys during his round, which was the lowest of the day.

“It all depends how many putts you make,” Cejka said of his successful round. “I'm hitting good shots, giving myself a lot of good chances, and finally acouple were dropping. I'm pleased with that.”

Stricker had six birdies and one bogey. The bogey was costly as it came on 17 and cost him a share of the lead. Langer overcame a double-bogey on the par-4, No. 3 with six birdies the rest of the way. He had four on the back nine. Kevin Sutherland (66) and Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez (67) are tied for seventh at 8-under 136.

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