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Weir wins Skins Game in style

Mike Weir struck it rich at the 16th hole Tuesday, sinking a 12-foot putt worth $140,000 en route to winning the Export `A' Skins Game.

The Bright's Grove, Ontario, golfer picked up another $25,000 on the 18th hole to raise his two-day total to $210,000 and become the first Canadian to win the skins game. Weir won 10 skins in all, including the 16th at Le Diable course, which included five carryovers.

"I played well," said Weir.

If the two-day event, with nine holes played each day, had been a regular round, Weir reckoned he would have shot a 61.

"Keeping the ball in the fairways is the key," he said.

Weir hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation and was also frequently the closest to the pin.

The Canadian won more money and skins than his three American opponents combined at the $360,000 event.

David Duval, the world's top-ranked golfer, finished second overall with $95,000 and five skins. John Daly was third with three skins and $55,000, while Fred Couples, a four-time winner of the event, was shut out.

In Tuesday's play, Duval won the 10th hole, pocketing $40,000, while Daly won $25,000 for capturing the 17th.

"It's probably the first time that I've played in a skins game where the best player won," said Daly, who had reminded Weir as he stood over his putt on 16 that it was worth $140,000. "He was the best and he deserved to win."

Weir said Daly's antics didn't bother him with his pressure-cooker putt on the 16th hole.

"I know him better now, so I felt more at ease," Weir said.

Daly pulled the same stunt on Weir at last year's skins game in Prince Edward Island. Weir ended up missing that putt worth $40,000.

So far Weir has won $314,000 on the PGA Tour this year, good for 68th spot among the money-winners. His best finish was a fifth at the BellSouth Classic tournament in Atlanta in March, where he was in contention until the last day before losing to Duval.

Couples, who is $25,000 shot of winning $1 million in the Canadian skins game, said Weir's age, 29, is working in his favor.

"Age is a marvelous thing if you can get on the tour at a young age," Couples said.

"I said five years ago that David (Duval) was going to become the best." Duval is 27 years old.

Weir said the win should give him confidence heading into this weekend's Western Open.