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Trevino earns first Champions Skins title

1/26/2003

WAILEA, Hawaii -- Lee Trevino was up at 3 a.m. Saturday
practicing with a new putter inside his hotel room.

That early morning practice on the ''bumpy carpet'' paid off
later in the day as Trevino won the Champions Skins Game, holing a
10-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole to finish with six
skins and $240,000.

''I was amazed seeing the ball go straight in the hole,''
Trevino said.

He said he switched to the new putter Saturday, made for him by
Scotty Cameron, because he was putting so poorly with his old one
earlier in the week.

''I made a lot of crucial putts today, which is unusual,'' he
said.

The 63-year-old Trevino won the event for the first time in
seven starts, earning $100,000 with his birdie on the par-4 17th.
His best previous finish was second place in 1991.

''I don't play much anymore, but I practice a lot,'' he said.

Hale Irwin was second with $200,000, Jack Nicklaus made $160,000
and Arnold Palmer, the 73-year-old crowd favorite, failed to take a
skin for the second consecutive year. Palmer struggled throughout,
finding the rough, bunkers and gallery.

''I don't like the taste of finishing second or third, but I
still feel good about the way I played,'' Irwin said.

Irwin, the winner three of the previous four years, took five
consecutive skins on the back nine for his $200,000, but couldn't
convert his 25-foot birdie putt on third extra hole, setting the
stage for Trevino's winning putt.

''Lee played great,'' Irwin said. ''I haven't played with him
and seen him hit so many good shots in a long time.''

Palmer was eliminated on the first extra hole, and Nicklaus
dropped out on the second.

Irwin consistently outdrove his opponents and hit 17 of 18
greens in regulation. He also was first in on seven of the first 11
holes, but failed to earn a skin until he birdied the 420-yard
14th, picking up two skins worth $80,000.

''I felt like I played pretty well,'' Irwin said. ''But it was
one of those crazy days where every time I did something, someone
also matched me. I felt it was three against one out there.''

Trevino, who smiled and chatted throughout the round, said
Irwin's feelings were accurate.

''We knew coming in that it was going to be three against one,''
he said. ''He held Hale back a long time. We knew that he was the
guy to beat.''

On the final hole in regulation, Trevino made an 18-foot putt,
and Irwin forced the playoff with a 7-footer.

Nicklaus had the lead for most of the day after a birdie on the
par-3 eighth gave him seven skins and $160,000. After the next
three holes carried over, Trevino birdied the 440-yard No. 12 to
take four skins and $120,000. He also won No. 1 for $20,000.

Irwin birdied the 378-yard No. 17, taking three skins worth
$120,000 -- giving him the brief lead. The putt was set up by a
wedge shot from 97 yards out.

The first six holes were worth $20,000, Nos. 7-12 $30,000, the
next five $40,000 and the final hole $100,000.

Conditions at the Wailea Golf Club were muggy, overcast with
slight wind. The round took nearly six hours.

The Gold Course, which features an oceanview from almost every
hole, runs along the base of the dormant volcano Haleakala and
plays to a par 72 at 6,844 yards. It is surrounded by palm trees,
white-sand bunkers and lava rocks.

The four players have won a combined 267 tour events, including
37 majors, and $48.3 million on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour.

The players donated 20 percent of their winnings to charities.

Game notes
Palmer was well prepared when an autograph seeker's marker
ran out of ink following the pro-am Friday. He whipped out a pen from
his back pocket and signed the ball. When asked if it was a page
out of San Francisco receiver Terrell Owens' book, Palmer said, ''I
was doing this before he was born.'' ... The players took a
15-minute break after the 12th hole to change shirts, to make it
appear they were playing on two different days for television.