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Trevino claims Par Three Challenge

Phil Mickelson let a $180,000 skin slip away on the 17th hole today before rallying to capture $220,000 on the final hole of the Par 3 Shootout golf tournament.

That pushed Mickelson's two-day winnings to $330,000 on the Threetops course at Treetops Resort, second behind Lee Trevino, who earned $1,120,000.

''It took me a couple of holes to get adjusted to the speed of the greens,'' Mickelson said. ''Once I figured those out, I started making some putts.''

Trevino all but clinched the title Monday when he sank a $1 million hole-in-one.

Mickelson shot well down the stretch with birdies on four of the last five holes. His first birdie was an 11-foot putt on No. 14 that kept Paul Azinger from winning $140,000. Azinger returned the favor by matching Mickelson's birdie on the next hole.

Mickelson finally broke through on No. 16 when he sank a 13-foot birdie putt worth $180,000. But to pocket the cash, players must ''validate'' a skin by winning or tying the next hole, something Mickelson was unable to do.

Mickelson's tee shot on No. 17 was his worst of the day, sailing over the green and into the heavy brush, leaving him with no chance for par. So the $180,000 skin, along with an additional $40,000 for the final two holes, carried over to the 18th.

Mickelson regrouped and dropped his tee shot on No. 18 within 16 feet on the 139-yard uphill hole. After Azinger and Trevino missed birdie tries, Mickelson buried his putt to win. No validation was necessary on the final hole.

''On 16, it just felt nice to finally get a skin, then I'll be darned if I didn't go out and air mail the next shot,'' Mickelson said. ''Paul was elbowing me in the stomach pretty good after that, so it was nice to sink that putt at the end. It was sweet revenge.''

Mickelson said his birdie putt to thwart Azinger on No. 14 kick-started his charge over the final five holes.

''That putt was critical,'' he said. ''It gave me a lot of confidence.''

Azinger, who finished with $60,000, agreed.

''I had my finger on the cash and I let it slip away,'' he said. ''Phil and I have a history. We gave it to each other pretty good, but he had the last laugh.''

Raymond Floyd, the defending champion, finished fourth this year with $30,00.

Trevino, who at 61 was the oldest player in the third annual tournament, downplayed his hole-in-one despite a wild celebration on the tee.

''Sure, I was excited when it went in,'' he said. ''But I play golf. That's what I do. I expect to do that stuff.

''Great football players don't spike the ball in the end zone. You know why? Because they aren't surprised to be there.''

 


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