Green matches Stewart's Redskin colors

December 02, 1991|By John Strege | John Strege,Orange County (Calif.) Register

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Payne Stewart was dressed for success yesterday, wearing the colors of, naturally, the 'Skins, red and gold, emphasis on gold.

The purse kept mounting, seven carryovers making the 14th hole worth $260,000. That's when Stewart holed a 3 1/2 -foot birdie putt that earned him a victory in the Skins Game on the Stadium Course at PGA West.

PGA Tour rookie John Daly, who won $120,000 Saturday, earned $40,000 more with the final skin yesterday and finished second with $160,000. Curtis Strange won $120,000 by birdieing the 17th hole. Jack Nicklaus was shut out.

Stewart recently renewed his contract with the National Football League to wear plus-fours with team colors and logos. He opted for the Washington Redskins yesterday, gold knickers and a red sweater and cap that were complemented by those green skins that he earned.

"That's the biggest money putt I've ever made in my life," Stewart said. He might have added that it was the single largest payday of his career.

It was the most money riding on a single hole in the nine-year history of the Skins Game, $20,000 more than Nicklaus earned on one hole in 1984. Nicklaus earned $285,000 on one hole in the Senior Skins last January.

Stewart might be entitled to claim that justice was served. Twice in the string of carryovers Stewart hit approach shots inside 2 feet, only to have Daly match him moments later. It happened on the seventh hole Saturday, the first in the string of carryovers, and it happened again at the 12th hole yesterday.

Stewart hit his second shot from a divot to within 1 foot of the hole. Daly then hit his about a foot from the hole. Each tapped in for birdie.

"My philosophy playing out of a divot is to make sure I hit the ball first [before the ground]," Stewart said. "Fortunately, the divot was pointing toward the hole."

At the 376-yard, par-4 14th hole, Stewart's pitching wedge approach from 127 yards stopped 3 1/2 feet from the hole. Nicklaus missed a long birdie putt. Daly missed a 20-footer and Strange missed a 15-footer. Then Stewart rolled in his birdie to win the pot.

Two more carryovers made the 17th hole worth $120,000 and both Stewart and Daly hit their tee shots into the water surrounding the notorious island green. Nicklaus hit his shot to 20 feet from the pin and Strange hit to within 6 feet. Nicklaus missed and Strange made his birdie to win the hole, the money and a pair of automobiles donated by the sponsor.

Of the four, Stewart probably played the best over the two days. He made five birdies.

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