VICTORIA, British Columbia – Retief Goosen of South Africa made five birdies to win earn five skins worth $75,000 on Monday, while Canadian Mike Weir was shut out the first day of play at the Telus Skins Game.
Goosen, fresh from a poor performance at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, made five birdies during his nine-hole performance at the Bear Mountain Resort.
“I hit a lot of good shots and obviously putting is the big thing,” he said. “The greens are perfect. If you start it on line, it goes in, unlike last week.”
Goosen said he hopes his game stays with him Tuesday, “when all the big money is.”
The first hole Tuesday includes carry-over prize money from Monday, that makes it worth $80,000.
Goosen recently returned to the golf tour after missing two months with a broken finger.
Englishman Ian Poulter captured one skin worth $15,000.
Poulter said he appreciated participating in an easygoing skins event after playing the U.S. Open.
“This is a lot less stressful than last week,” he said. “There’s one guy that at the end of the week walks off real happy. It’s a very difficult test of golf. It’s a year away, thank God.”
Camilo Villegas of Colombia and veteran Fred Couples of the United States were also shutout.
The five golfers will play another nine holes Tuesday for a prize total of $360,000.
Weir appeared to be carrying his struggles from the U.S. Open to Bear Mountain. He challenged for at least two skins, but fought his drives and putts.
“The greens were perfect coming from where we just did,” he said. “It’s nice to see the ball really roll nice. It had a lot of fun holes to play.”
Thousands of fans followed the golfers, with most cheering on Weir, but warming to Goosen whose strong drives and birdie touch quickly made him the favorite.
“Come on Retief, give them a chance,” said one fan as the rangy Goosen was preparing to drive off the sixth hole.