Funk Leads Skins Game After Day 1


2005 Merrill Lynch Skins GameLA QUINTA, Calif. -- Fred Funk, who played one hole in a skirt due to his lack of length off the tee, rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole Saturday to take the lead after the first nine holes of the Skins Game.
Funk captured six skins with the eagle and $225,000, the most ever on a Saturday at the Skins Game.
Fred Funk and Tiger Woods
Fred Funk and Tiger Woods walk down the fairway during the Skins Game in La Quinta. Calif. Funk is the one wearing the skirt.
Tiger Woods birdied the third hole to win three skins and $75,000.
Defending champion and Skins Game all-time money leader Fred Couples was shut out on Saturday. Annika Sorenstam, who held the old record of most money won on Saturday with $175,000 in 2003, also failed to win a skin.
Funk made a par at the third hole in a pink, flowered skirt after he failed to outdrive Sorenstam. There would be no skirt-wearing on the par-five ninth, though, as Funk reached the fringe with his second shot. He sank his 20-foot eagle try, but had to wait for one more player.
Couples hit the best shot of the quartet at the ninth. His second stopped 15 feet right of the hole, but his eagle putt moved right at the last second, making Funk the big winner of Saturday.
'That's a big comeback, coming back from a skirt,' joked Funk, who is making his debut in this event.
Funk, who is consistently atop the standings in fairway accuracy, but not long off the tee, outdrove Sorenstam by a few feet at the first hole. Sorenstam knocked her approach to six feet, while Funk was 15 feet left of the hole. Couples hit a terrible drive into the left rough and reached the green in three. Woods, who outdrove everyone by miles, hit his second to four feet.
The putters were not working for either of the three putting for birdie, so the skin and $25,000 carried over to No. 2.
The two most dominant players in the sport squared off on the par-four second. With Funk and Couples right of the hole, Sorenstam hit her approach inside two feet. Woods responded with a wedge to five feet and both Woods and Sorenstam converted their birdie putts.
Sorenstam finally outdrove Funk at the par-five third and the Swede had a gift for the winner of this year's Players Championship. She presented Funk with a skirt that the 49-year-old donned for the remainder of the hole.
The garment change did nothing for Funk's game as he and Sorenstam faced 20- foot birdie putts that neither made. Woods reached the green in two and Couples was right of the green. Couples pitched seven feet past the cup and Woods lagged his 60-footer to three feet. Couples' putt hit the left edge, but stayed above ground. Woods kicked his in the hole to win three skins and $75,000.
'No one will ever remember I made a skin here,' joked Woods, referring to Funk's new attire.
Woods and Couples both had the best chances for wins at four and five, but neither converted their birdie tries.
The par-three sixth was worth three skins and $75,000 and with the men all hitting relatively poor tee shots, Sorenstam hit a five-iron that rolled right past the hole.
Unfortunately for the Swede, Funk exacted some revenge from the skirt incident. Funk drained a 45-footer from across the green to halve the hole with Sorenstam and make seven worth four skins.
No one had a good birdie look at seven, and Couples badly missed a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe at the long, par-three eighth.
On Sunday, the final nine holes will be played with $700,000 on the line.
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