Big Stakes Match Play Awards $3 Million Prize


MESQUITE, NV -- Garth Mulroy and David Ping won the final hole of the 2005 Big Stakes Match Play Championship on Monday to walk away with a 2-up win and $3,000,000.
Mulroy and Ping downed the duo of Rick Hartmann and Mark Mielke for the richest payday in golf history. Each pair had won five matches over the first five days to gain entry into the final.
Mulroy and Ping cruised to a 4 & 3 win in the opening round, before collecting a 3 & 1 victory in round two. They rolled to a 5 & 3 win in round three over the team of Eric Axley, winner of the last week's Nationwide Tour stop, The Rex Hospital Open, and fellow professional golfer Scott Piercy.
The Californians posted a 3 & 2 win in the quarterfinal, then downed James Gilleon, Jr. and former major league baseball pitcher and Celebrity golf tour standout Rick Rhoden, 4 & 3, in the semifinals.
Hartmann and Mielke notched a 4 & 3 win to start the event and came back with a 1-up win over Ryan Murphy and Nationwide Tour player Michael Letzig in round two. They out-lasted Darryl Donovan and Randy Haag, 2 & 1, in the third round.
The New Yorkers moved into the semifinals with a 1-up victory over Robert Ralston and David Lundstrom. They advanced to the finals with a 4 & 2 win over Jimmy Blair and Steve Schneiter, who has seen time on both the Nationwide and PGA Tours, as well as the Canadian Tour.
Mulroy and Ping were in the event thanks to sponsors Barry Stokes of the Atlanta Falcons and the Cleveland Browns' Ross Verba. Hartmann and Mielke were sponsored by four members of Sag Harbor, New York's Atlantic Golf Club.
The winners gained $2,325,000 for winning the final match alone and $3 million in all.