Nicklaus-Watson win Champions Skins Game

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KAANAPALI, Hawaii --Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson held off defending champions Fuzzy Zoeller and Ben Crenshaw to win the Champions Skins Game on Sunday.

Nicklaus, who will be 70 on Thursday, and Watson birdied two holes to win three skins and $130,000 on the back nine. They finished with 10 skins and $350,000 for their second victory in the event in four years.

It was an early birthday present for Nicklaus and a little redemption for the team after being blanked last year.

On a balmy day on Maui, Zoeller-Crenshaw took five straight skins for $230,000 to finish second in the alternate-shot, made-for-TV event. They were trying to become the first team to repeat after winning a record $530,000 last year.

Fred Couples, making his Champions Tour debut, and Nick Price sank a 4-footer for birdie on the playoff hole with two skins and $150,000 on the line — including the 18th-hold "Superskin" — to finish third with $190,000.

Gary Player and Loren Roberts were shutout.

After taking seven skins and $220,000 the first day, team Nicklaus-Watson looked to put it away early by taking the par-5 10th worth $80,000 and two skins. After a high-arching wedge shot by Watson, Nicklaus made the 8-foot birdie putt to push his team's take to $300,000 and nine skins.

"We're about to get skinned by the two older guys," Zoeller commented.

That's when the defending champs made a move, winning the next five skins.

Zoeller sparked the rally on par-3 11th by draining a 25-foot putt to halve the hole after Watson made a 40-footer that drew a roar from the gallery of several thousand.

Zoeller sank 3-foot birdie putts on Nos. 12 and 15 before Watson ended the run by crawling in a 25-foot putt for birdie on the par-4 16th for a $50,000 skin.

Nicklaus made his 20th appearance in the Champions Skins Game, which will be televised next month, and added to his record for skins (114) and money ($2.6 million).


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