Fred Couples, the big winner on the first day of the Skins Game, would rather not be playing.

Couples, who made two birdie putts to win a total of $125,000 yesterday in Indio, Calif., is filling in for his friend, the late Payne Stewart.

"I wish he was here," Couples said of Stewart, who died in a plane accident Oct. 25. "As for golf, it's secondary.

"The idea here is to get money back to Orlando, and it's going to be a pretty big check," Couples said, referring to the money the Skins Game competitors are donating to the Payne Stewart Memorial Fund.

Couples is donating 30 percent of his earnings during the tournament, and the other players are giving 20 percent of theirs to the Stewart fund. It is traditional for Skins Game contestants to donate 20 percent of their winnings to a charity of their choice.

Sergio Garcia, the 19-year-old Spaniard who is the youngest player in the event's history, made the shot of the day when he chipped in from 35 yards for an eagle and $50,000 on No. 8.

To cheers from the gallery, Garcia skipped gleefully across the green after the ball bounced a couple of times and disappeared into the hole.

"I enjoyed it; they are great guys," Garcia said of his first day of the Skins Game. "I had a pretty good eighth hole; I would love to get some more skins, but that was enough for today."

The bulk of the $1 million purse, $750,000, will be at stake for today's second nine holes of the 18-hole event. That includes a $50,000 carry-over from the ninth hole, which was tied, and the $200,000 "super skin" on No. 18.

* AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Aaron Baddeley is one round from becoming the first amateur to win the event in Sydney in 39 years.

He might not be much farther away from joining Tiger Woods and Garcia as the top young golfers in the world.

"You can put him in that bracket," Greg Norman said after the 18-year-old Baddeley shot a 2-under 70 to take a one-shot lead with a 54-hole total of 11-under 205.

CAPTION: Nineteen-year-old Sergio Garcia, right, shares a light moment with veteran Fred Couples, who sank two putts for $125,000 on first day of Skins Game.