Fred Couples, already the leading money-winner in the history of the Skins Game, added $635,000 to his earnings this weekend in Indio, Calif. His haul included a one-hole record $410,000 for winning the final hole.
He joined Mark O'Meara, David Duval and Sergio Garcia in the four-player field as a replacement for Payne Stewart. Couples pledged 30 percent of his earnings to the Payne Stewart Memorial Fund, honoring his friend who died in an Oct. 25 plane crash.
O'Meara won $245,000, Garcia $120,000, Duval zero.
On No. 18, Couples pulled his drive to the left and the ball wedged into a shrub, six inches off the ground. But a recovery shot to the fairway, a 4-iron within 15 feet of the pin and a birdie putt left Couples with riches for the hole and his third Skins Game title.
Couples made nine birdies over the two days and won 11 skins, both records in the event that began in 1983. He ran his total earnings to $1,975,000 in seven appearances. O'Meara, the 1998 Skins Game champion with $430,000, finished second this year with five skins.
Garcia, the 19-year-old Spaniard and youngest player ever in the Skins Game, had two skins. He missed a 10-foot birdie try on No. 18 that would have sent the tournament into extra holes.
* AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Aaron Baddeley is the youngest champion in the event's 95-year history and the first amateur winner in 39 years.
"I believed in my ability," said Baddeley, 18, who closed with a 3-under 69 in Sydney for a two-stroke victory over fellow Australians Greg Norman and Nick O'Hern. Baddeley is the first amateur winner since Bruce Devlin in 1960, and is six days younger than Ivo Whitton was when he won in 1912.
CAPTION: Sergio Garcia, left, Mark O'Meara celebrate birdie putts that kept Fred Couples from winning No. 11, but Couples won $410,000 on 18.