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Couples again the big winner at Skins Game

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La Quinta, CA (Sports Network) - , the all-time money winner in Skins Game history, picked up another $580,000 on Sunday to win the 21st annual Skins Game. Couples finished the event with $605,000 and eight Skins easily defeating Annika Sorenstam and . However, it took Couples four extra holes to win the final 'Super Skin' worth $200,000.

Sorenstam, the first woman to play in this event, earned another $50,000 Sunday to finish the event with $225,000. Mickelson, like Sorenstam earned four skins, but earned just $170,000. , the 2002 Skins Game champion, was shutout.

"It was a fun day. I've been saying all along, every time I get in one of these things, you get embarrassed and you fail and you do a couple of good things and you make a 100-footer (actually 55) to win a couple of skins," said Couples. "It's pot-luck. I feel very grateful for what happened."

Sorenstam, who had holed out for eagle at the par-five ninth to win four Skins and $175,000 on Saturday, came out firing. She rolled home a 15-footer for birdie at the 10th to win another skin at Trilogy Golf Club.

"It was a great start for me," said Sorenstam. "I was happy to win another skin. It was a great day."

Sorenstam, whose $175,000 on the first day set a new Saturday record in the made-for-TV event, was the only player to miss the green at the 11th, but all three players left with pars. Couples had short chances to win Nos. 12 and 13, but missed two putts from within seven feet.

Couples, who did not hit a fairway all day, drained an 18-footer for birdie at the 14th to win four skins and $265,000. All three of his foes had a chance to halve him on the hole, but none could convert.

Lefty got back on the board at the very next hole. After Couples, Sorenstam and O'Meara missed birdie tries, Mickelson sank a 12-footer for birdie and $70,000.

With three holes to play, all four golfers still had a chance to win the event. At the 16th, Mickelson, Couples and Sorenstam missed their birdie tries. O'Meara, who won $405,000 last year at the Skins Game, had a seven- footer to win his first skin, but his putt slid by the right edge.

The long par-three 17th was now worth $140,000. Sorenstam missed the green long and was unable to pitch in. Couples then won the event as he rolled in a bomb from 55 feet out.

Mickelson and O'Meara had birdie attempts from within 15 feet, but neither could make their putt. Couples' lengthy putt set the record for longest putt to win a skin.

The 18th hole's 'Super Skin' worth $200,000 created the best drama of the second day. Mickelson and O'Meara both made short birdie putts to force extra holes to determine the winner of the final skin.

The foursome returned to the 18th tee and this time around all four left with pars.

"I knew I had to make my putt because I knew that Phil was going to make his," said O'Meara. "I didn't hit a good putt obviously. It was disappointing, but it was great to play with these guys."

"Well, I had the easiest putt, obviously - a three-footer to win $200,000 and I missed it," Mickelson said.

It was back to No. 17 for the group. Sorenstam and O'Meara missed the green and were eliminated as Mickelson and Couples both sank short birdie putts.

Couples and Mickelson both made short birdie putts on No. 18, the third extra hole. Mickelson, who went 0-5 last week at the Presidents Cup, then joked with Couples, that the pair should just split the final $200,000 since he was getting tired.

Not to worry for Lefty, the playoff would be over shortly. Couples dropped a three-iron within 18 feet of cup at the 17th, while Mickelson stuck his shot within six feet. Couples sank his birdie putt, his third straight birdie on the hole, and Mickelson's try slid past the right edge to give Couples the final skin.

"I stepped up and hit a good three-iron and Phil hit his third prettiest iron of the day to six feet," said Couples. "I happened to make it and he just missed.

"I was just looking forward to playing with Annika. I think she played terrific golf. I certainly didn't play better than Annika. I just made a few more putts and hit a couple of lucky shots."

O'Meara became the fourth defending champion to get shutout the following year. He became the 21st person in event history to be shutout at the Skins Game.

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