Sorenstam nabs Skins second

Posted: Monday, December 01, 2003

LA QUINTA, Calif. Annika Sorenstam earned another $50,000 on Sunday but finished second to Fred Couples, the grand master of the Skins Game who won his record fourth championship.

Couples won all but $25,000 of his $605,000 on the final day of the 18-hole, made-for-television event.

Sorenstam, the first woman to compete in the 21-year history of the game, earned $225,000. Phil Mickelson was third with $170,000. Mark O'Meara won nothing, one year after earning $405,000 to take the title.

Couples birdied the 17th three times.

Four playoff holes were needed to award the $200,000 ''Super Skin,'' which initially was at stake on the par-5, 575-yard 18th. Couples clinched the title when he and Mickelson birdied the second playoff hole, the par-3 17th, and Sorenstam didn't.

But Couples and Mickelson needed two more playoff holes to end it. Couples' 20-footer for birdie, again on the 17th, added $200,000 to his day. His first time on the 17th, Couples won a $140,000 skin by sinking a 55-footer for birdie.

Couples ran his record career earnings in the event to $2.875 million.

He missed short birdie putts that would have given him skins on the 12th and 13th holes, then recovered with a longer putt for a $240,000 skin the biggest of the event on the par-4, 412-yard 14th.

Sorenstam was the first-day leader with $175,000, thanks to one of the most spectacular shots ever in the game a breathtaking, 39-yard eagle out of the bunker on the par-5 ninth hole.

She made it two skins in a row by knocking in a 15-foot birdie putt on the first hole Sunday, the par-4, 378-yard 10th.

Sorenstam was the obvious favorite of the big gallery at the Trilogy Golf Club, which opened in February.

A group of girls shouted ''Go Annika'' as she walked down one fairway, and she waved and smiled in response.

''I'd love to do it again,'' Sorenstam said. ''I'm just sad that it's over. I wanted to play some more. I've had a wonderful two days.''

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