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Andy North wins Par 3 Shootout

Andy North's two days at Treetops Resort were better than his best year on the PGA Tour.

The two-time U.S. Open champion earned $350,000 to win the Par-3 Shootout on the Threetops Course that concluded Tuesday. North won $212,268 in 1985, his most lucrative year on tour.

``It was a great two days out there,'' said the 55-year-old North, who didn't play competitive golf in 2004 after undergoing back surgery the year before. ``When I was invited to play back in February, I circled this date.

``In this silly game, if you hit a couple of good shots at the right time, good things happen.''

Gary McCord, 57, finished second with $90,000, while Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson tied for third with $50,000 each.

North, like McCord, is a part-time Champions Tour player and a full-time television commentator. He won the title with a 17-foot birdie putt on the 205-yard third hole worth $220,000 (11 skins). He then made a two-putt par on the 141-yard fourth hole.

North won the final $60,000 when he drained a 35-foot putt on the first playoff hole -- the 147-yard first.

``I've never made a putt like that for $60,000,'' North said.

Couples almost stole the title on the 143-yard fifth hole. His nine iron hit behind the hole and drew back to within 10 inches, missing the cup by an inch. It was the second closest shot to the pin in the tournament's seven-year history -- only Lee Trevino's hole-in-one on No. 7 in 2001 was closer -- and would have been worth $1 million.

Mickelson was impressed by the play of North and McCord.

``Fred and I are disappointed but in a fun way,'' said Mickelson, the youngest of the four at 35. ``Distance is not a factor here. Plus, Andy is hitting it better now than he did in his 20s and 30s.''

North, who won $10,000 for being the closest to the pin on No. 3, agreed about the distance.

``We wouldn't want to play Phil and Fred on a 7,800-yard course,'' he said. ``On this course, it's more about controlling club distance and spin.''


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