Funk Dominates Skins Game

By Associated PressNovember 27, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Merrill Lynch Skins GameLA QUINTA, Calif. -- What a Skins Game it was for Fred Funk, who went from wearing a pink skirt on the third hole to walking away with nearly all the money.
 
'Wow,' Funk said in disbelief Sunday on the 18th green, where he'd just won the final $550,000 and six skins, for a total of $925,000 and 15 skins in his first try.
 
Funk had a two-putt birdie on the par-5 18th, then clinched the record-setting victory when Tiger Woods missed an 8-foot birdie putt.
 
Fred Couples
Fred Couples, the two-time reigning Skins Game champ, was completely shut out in the 2005 edition.
The 49-year-old Funk became the oldest Skins Game winner, and took all $700,000 available on Sunday.
 
'I'm still in shock that I got asked to be in this thing,' said Funk, who was invited to his first Skins Game after winning the Players Championship in March. 'I've always watched it on TV and was shocked to be part of it. It's something that I didn't even dream of, actually. First of all, I didn't dream that I'd win the Players Championship.'
 
Before the made-for-TV tournament, Woods told Funk he'd never live it down if Annika Sorenstam outdrove him on even one hole. It happened on the third hole Saturday, and Funk good-naturedly pulled a pink skirt over his pants and finished the hole.
 
But Woods might not want to underestimate the short-but-accurate Funk anymore.
 
'It started off with some nice birdies at first, and after that Funky just took over,' Woods said.
 
Coincidentally, Funk won $775,000 and 12 skins on two par-5s. The $925,000 and 15 skins were records for a rookie.
 
Almost as surprising as Funk winning practically the entire purse was Fred Couples, the King of Skins, getting shut out for the first time in 12 appearances.
 
'Getting nothing is not the end of the world,' said Couples, who still holds the Skins Game career records with $3,515,000 and 77 skins. 'I've gotten my share. So I'm tickled pink just to be here.'
 
Woods won the other $75,000, on the third hole on Saturday. Sorenstam was shut out for the second straight year.
 
'This course is long for me to start with, and you put some wind and some firm greens, it made it really tough for me to get it close,' said Sorenstam, the LPGA star playing in her third straight Skins Game. 'It's an honor simply to come here. This is a great experience for me.'
 
With more than half the purse up for grabs on the final hole, Funk played it brilliantly. As usual, his drive was in the middle of the fairway on the 524-yard, par-5 finishing hole, although Woods and Couples had more distance. Funk's approach shot left him with a 30-foot eagle putt, which curled just to the left, leaving him a tap-in for birdie.
 
'Obviously I'm not a power hitter at all,' said Funk, who hit a 284-yard drive and a 3-wood from 241 yards.
 
'I wasn't sure, into the wind, that I could get home, but I hit a really good drive and a really good 3-wood to get it up there,' he said. 'I didn't think birdie would win it, but you just never know in the Skins.
 
'Again, timing's everything,' Funk said. 'It was very difficult to make putts. You saw a lot of putts go right up to the hole and break off. Freddie and Tiger hit a bunch like that. It's just difficult trying to read these things and you don't know where they go.'
 
Woods needed to make his birdie putt to halve the hole and force a playoff. He missed just left.
 
Funk also won $150,000 and three skins with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 12th, the day's third hole.
 
The previous oldest Skins Game champion was Gary Player, who was 48 when he won it in 1983.
 
Funk won the most money in one year and won the biggest hole in a regular Skins Game -- not including the 2001 event that was played under a validation format. Greg Norman won $800,000 on one hole in that 2001 event, and $1 million overall.
 
Woods and Couples both had chances to reel in Funk, who won $225,000 and six skins on Saturday.
 
Woods had a sensational approach shot out of the right rough on the par-5 16th and could have won $280,000 and four skins, but his 25-foot eagle putt stopped about 4 inches short of the cup.
 
'Don't do that, don't,' Woods said before covering his face.
 
'Nice lag,' Sorenstam told him.
 
'I've got a pretty pink skirt for you,' Funk said to Woods.
 
On the par-3 17th, which was worth $350,000 and five skins, Funk hit into the water and Woods and Couples both missed long birdie putts. Sorenstam made a par putt, forcing Woods and Couples to do the same to halve the hole and carry the money over to the 18th.
 
The Skins Game is sponsored by Merrill Lynch.
 
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  • American Junior Golf Association

    Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

    While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

    There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

    According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

    Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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    McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

    By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

    They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

    McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

    Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

    On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

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    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

    12/1: Tony Finau

    14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

    20/1: Francesco Molinari

    25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

    30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

    40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

    50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

    60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

    80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

    100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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    Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

    By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

    Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

    It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

    Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

    “I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

    “I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

    Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

    At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

    Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

    “I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.



    “Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

    “Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

    After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

    “I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

    Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

    “It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

    “Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

    On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

    Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

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    Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

    At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

    At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

    Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

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    Her overall assessment of her day?

    “It was a great experience,” she said.

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.