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Couples takes overnight Skins Game lead

Fred Couples made a 12-foot putt worth $75,000 today to cap the first day of the Export A Skins Game.

The big payout on the day's ninth and final hole came when the previous three holes had been carried over. The $90,000 gave Couples the lead through nine holes and pushed his total winnings in eight Canadian skins games past $1 million.

Sergio Garcia, who has struggled on the PGA Tour this year, took a liking to the Predator Ridge Golf Resort course. He took $15,000 on the opening hole and finished with $60,000 on four skins.

Both defending champion Mike Weir and Phil Mickelson, third on the PGA Tour money list this year with over $2.9 million, failed to win a skin.

Weir, a native of Canada, won $210,000 at last year's competition and then went on to win his first PGA Tour event, the Air Canada Championship, also in British Columbia.

Couples has won the tournament four times, with his last victory in 1998 when he pocketed $220,000 at Crowbush Cove, Prince Edward Island. He was shut out of the money last year.

Couples won $15,000 on the second hole.

Under the skins format, the low score on each hole wins the assigned prize money. In the case of low-score tie, the money is carried over until there is a single winner.

Tuesday's play starts with holes 10 through 12 assigned $20,000 each. The final six holes are $25,000 each.

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