KAANAPALI, Hawaii (AP) — Defending champions Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson won eight skins and a record $270,000 in alternate-shot play in the first nine holes of the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game on Saturday.
With five skins and $180,000 at stake on the 202-yard ninth hole, Watson hit a 5-iron 15 feet above the hole and Nicklaus made the curling birdie putt. Nicklaus and Watson broke their own first-day mark of $260,000 set two years ago in the first year of the alternate-shot team format.
Gary Player and Loren Roberts captured the first hole at the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course to take $30,000, while the teams of Arnold Palmer-Jay Haas and Fuzzy Zoeller-Peter Jacobsen were shut out. The remaining nine holes are on Sunday.
“Tom hit some really nice iron shots and got me close to the hole and I made a couple of putts,” Nicklaus said. “I never got the ball anywhere near the hole. It turned out he hit some good iron shots and I happened to make a few putts. That’s what it was.”
Roberts made a 10-foot birdie putt to claim the first hole.
He and Player then halved the second and third holes with Palmer and Haas before Nicklaus made a 10-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole for three skins and $90,000.
Player and Roberts halved the next four holes, twice with Zoeller-Jacobsen and once each with Nicklaus-Watson and Palmer-Haas.