Mickelson Wins Canadian Skins Game


Left-edge putts seem to always fall in for Phil Mickelson when he absolutely has to have them.
The Masters champion won the 2004 Telus Skins Game at Le Fontainebleau Golf Club near Montreal Tuesday after pocketing $165,000 Canadian in the 12th edition of the shootout. And sure enough, it was a left-edge putt at 17 that gave him the victory.
Mickelson was shut out over the first nine holes of play Monday, but birdied the par-4 11th Tuesday for $115,000 Canadian to take the lead in the event and birdied the par-3 17th to clinch the win, giving him an additional $50,000 from a total purse of $360,000. He finished with a total of eight skins.
Mickelson's decisive six-footer on the 17th caught the left edge of the cup and trickled in.
'Left lips have been good to me this year,' said Mickelson, referring to similar birdie putt, this one from 18 feet, on the final hole at the Masters.
'I didn't make as many birdies today as I did yesterday, but I made them at the right time,' Mickelson said. 'I had a lot of fun. These guys I played with were great. The people were great. I really enjoyed it.'
John Daly finished second with four skins and $95,000. Hank Kuehne relied on his first-day total of five skins and $75,000 to finish third, and Vijay Singh avoided being shut out with a birdie from 20 feet on the final hole, worth $25,000.
The event raised $76,223 for Operation Enfant Soleil, based on the number of birdies and eagles by the four players as well as total driving yardage by the long-hitting foursome on one designated hole. Skins Game sponsor Telus rounded the donation off to $100,000 before presenting a cheque to officials of the Quebec-based charity that ensures sick children receive the best possible medical care.
The players combined on 30 birdies and an eagle over two days on the course, shortened to 6,762 for more under-par scoring. Though some of the golfers occasionally picked up when they were out of a hole, unofficially Daly and Mickelson each shot 62, Kuehne 63, and Singh 65.
Mickelson left immediately on his private jet for Scotland, where he will play a practice round at Royal Troon in preparation for next week's British Open. He will also play the Scottish Open this week.
'It's been a very fun year, but I want to finish it off right,' Mickelson said. 'We're halfway through the majors. Now we've got the British Open coming up, and I'm playing at Royal Troon (Wednesday).
I want to be really prepared for the British Open, because if I can continue to play the way I've been, I think it's a good opportunity to try to win.