Ames beats Couples in Skins Game playoff

From the Associated Press

Stephen Ames took the big bucks in his first Skins Game.

Ames rolled in a three-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole Sunday for $270,000 that gave him the championship with a total of $590,000.

"I forgot about the golf swing and just started playing golf," Ames said. "I made some nice putts and hit some good shots where I made some skins early on."

Five-time champion Fred Couples was second with $385,000. John Daly won one skin worth $25,000 and ruined his chance at the $270,000 still up for grabs when he drove into a fairway bunker on the third playoff hole.

Fred Funk, who wore a pink skirt on one hole last year on the way to the title and $925,000, was eliminated along with Couples on the second playoff hole, when Ames and Daly each had birdies.

Couples, who was making his 13th appearance and is known as "King of the Skins," ran his earnings in the event to $3.9 million. Although he didn't win this time, Couples had 10 birdies and an eagle over 20 holes.

"Freddie should have won," Daly said. "No offense to Stephen, but Freddie played better than all three of us. Stephen just got it at the right time."

In Skins competition, a player wants to win the big-money holes as the pot builds up. Ames won the title by taking eight skins, and Couples won nine but for less money.

Although the joking and needling didn't quite measure up to the hoopla over Funk's donning a skirt for the third hole last year when Annika Sorenstam out-drove him, there were a lot of lighter moments.

Funk played some practical jokes, including replacing Daly's ball on the sixth green with a remote-control ball that lurched back and forth, then serving as Daly's caddy on the 11th tee, when he handed him a huge wedge and a child's nine-iron.

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