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Raymond Floyd wins Par 3 Shootout

The final nine holes of the Par-3 Shootout became a game of misfires Tuesday at Treetops Resort. Hale Irwin began the day needing to at least tie the winning score on the 10th hole in order to "validate" the $80,000 in Skins he captured on the ninth hole Monday.

"I knew just knew I would need a birdie at that hole, but was at a disadvantage because I had to hit first," Irwin said. "I wasn't sure of the wind at the ball flight."

When Irwin missed his 20-foot birdie putt, Lee Janzen tapped-in a birdie from two-feet to claim his stake on $100,000 in Skin money if he could validate on the 11th hole.

"Lee has just about got his game back," Irwin said.

In the game of "Validation," Skin money can only be claimed once the win is validated by at least a tie for the best score on the following hole.

"'Validation' is a great game," said Mickelson, who admitted to playing the game with his friends at home in Arizona. "The format really takes away any flukes."

Mickelson got to take advantage of the format by holing a 20-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole, thereby snatching the Skin money from Janzen, who missed from 20 feet. Mickelson kissed his golf ball and smiled, but the smile was erased when his favorite format came back to bite him on the 12th hole, where Mickelson missed the green, ran a chip 12 feet past the hole, and failed to make the comeback putt.

Irwin, Janzen and Floyd could only manage par, and with the "two-tie/all tie" format of Skins, $160,000 was up for grabs on the 13th hole; money that, at one time or another, had been in the hands of Irwin, Janzen, and then Mickelson.

Irwin, who had made only $10,000 to that point, had a chance at the money by hitting his tee shot to 10 feet from the hole while Floyd missed the green on No. 13, while Janzen and Mickelson hit pedestrian shots. With the balls on the green, and all that money on the table, falling rains cooled the shooters by halting play.

When play resumed, Irwin used too much borrow and left the ball high of the hole, sending the players to the 14th, where Phil Mickleson was closest to the pin, but no one could make better than par.

With the 15th hole worth $200,000, Raymond Floyd hit his tee shot to a little over seven feet, and finally rolled in a birdie putt. The $200,000, and the Par-3 Shootout title would be his if he could validate on the following hole. At the 135-yard 16th though, Floyd sent his tee shot right of the green where it settled in 14-inch deep rough, and the game was on again.

Janzen and Mickelson made pars, making the 17th hole worth $240,000, and it was Janzen and Irwin who hit shots to 10 feet. As they waited to putt, Floyd surprised them by rolling in a 25-foot birdie.

"I didn't make many putts this week, but that one was nice," Floyd said. "I won eight of the 18 closest to the pin contests, and when you give yourself opportunities like that good things are bound to happen."

Floyd playing from sand won$240,000 at the Par 3 Shootout. Allsport

Needing to make to halve, Janzen lipped-out, and Irwin missed his, leaving Floyd with $240,000, if he could validate on the final hole.

Floyd, with his son Robert in tow as his caddie, took the honors on the 135-yard hole and knocked his tee shot to two-feet.

"After all of the funny shots I gave away, it was nice to hit what was probably the best shot of the tournament," Floyd said.

Mickleson missed the green, and then Janzen and Irwin desperately hit shots to five and seven feet, respectively. Galleries gasped when Irwin made his putt, and Janzen made birdie on top of him. More importantly, Floyd delivered his kick-in to the hole and validated his $240,000 and the title.

"Michigan is my favorite state this summer," said Floyd, who won the $350,000 two weeks ago at the Ford Senior Players Championship in Dearborn.

On the anti-climactic extra hole, worth $20,000, Mickelson made birdie and raked-in some extra green.

In a wry bit of irony, Irwin, who was aced out of the big skin he made on the ninth hole, made an ace in a morning pro-am on the first hole of the Threetops Par-3 course. Had he done that less than an hour later in the main competition, he would have won $1 million dollars.

"The rules official kidded me about making an ace in practice, and I told him that was the kiss of death. Wouldn't you know it happened," Irwin said. "My timing was that way this week."

Round 1 Report

 

 

 

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