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GOLF ROUNDUP : Floyd Is Big Skinner on Big Island

From Associated Press

There are money putts, and then there was The Money Putt, with more than a quarter-million dollars on the line.

After missing three birdie tries as the pressure and the pot grew, Raymond Floyd finally made an eight-footer Sunday in the Senior Skins at Kohala Coast, Hawaii, to win the richest hole--$290,000--in skins history.

“I know I’ve never putted for that much money ever,” Floyd said after his dramatic birdie at No. 17. “You try not to think about the money, but you can’t help it.

“It’s tough to make a putt for that much money. If Arnie had made his putt at 17, that cup would have looked like a thimble to me.”

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Arnold Palmer had missed from 10 feet and Jack Nicklaus from 14 feet at the par-four, 411-yard 17th before Floyd rolled in his putt to win the Senior Skins title for the second consecutive year.

“That was one of the worst putts I think I’ve ever made,” Palmer said of his try, which started off-line and never had a chance.

Floyd also led the first day of the two-day tournament at the Mauna Lani Resort course, with $130,000. His $420,000 total, like his single-hole earnings at No. 17, was the most money won in a skins competition either on the Senior Tour or the PGA Tour.

Nicklaus won $120,000. Palmer and Lee Trevino were shut out.

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Vijay Singh, coming off a year in which he was troubled by a bad back, two-putted from 50 feet to par the first playoff hole and win the Phoenix Open at Scottsdale, Ariz.

Singh’s 2 1/2-foot putt was the winner after Billy Mayfair, whose second shot missed the green, was unable to get up and down on No. 18 for the second time in a matter of minutes. Mayfair chipped out of sand and made a three-foot putt to save par on the 18th green and force the playoff.

Singh and Mayfair started the round at 10 under and shot five-under-par 66s, finishing at 15-under 269.

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Ben Crenshaw, the third-round leader, shot a 69 and finished at 271.

Singh, born in Fiji, won once as a rookie in 1993--his only victory on the tour--and took home nearly $658,000, but a bad back halved his earnings last season. He pocketed $234,000 of the $1.3-million purse.

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Fred Couples, surprised at his success, shot a final-round, one-under-par 71 and won the Johnnie Walker Classic in the Philippines, his second consecutive tournament title on the PGA’s European Tour.

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Couples finished with a total of 277, 11 under par over the 7,016-yard, par-72 Orchard Golf and Country Club in Manila and won $160,000.

Nick Price, the world’s No. 1 player in 1994, shot a 70 for second place at 279.

Couples, who won last week’s Dubai Desert Classic, was not satisfied with his overall performance despite 67s in the second and third rounds.

“It seemed those chasing me were going crazy on the front nine,” Couples said. “I just hung in most of the day and did my best to just play the course and not think of what the others were doing.”

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