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Trevino Plays Ace in Hole : He Sweeps Day's Nine Skins and Wins $285,000

November 30, 1987|THOMAS BONK | Times Staff Writer

LA QUINTA — As soon as he got back from a party Saturday night, Lee Trevino worked on his putting on the carpet of his condo.

So what in the world did he do to help his tee shots? Hit a few into the shower curtain?

A better question: How could anyone, even Trevino, have prepared for what he did Sunday on Day 2 of the Skins Game?

Trevino, who had already won two skins worth $70,000 with birdie putts, stunned his playing partners by sending his tee shot on the 17th hole high and straight and far and and bounding into the cup for a hole in one.

A crowd of close to 8,000 ringing the length of No. 17 broke into wild applause. In a matter of seconds, so did Trevino, and with several thousand very good reasons.

He surely picked the right place to shoot a hole in one. Because it was a four-hole carryover, Trevino's sudden, shocking hole in one was also worth a lot of money.

How much?

Exactly $175,000. For one swing of a 6-iron.

The ball carried 165 yards before disappearing into the hole.

Trevino thought his shot was as pretty as a picture.

"Boy, it looked like a Rembrandt, didn't it?" Trevino asked.

When the ball was still in the air, Jack Nicklaus said to Trevino: "That's a pretty shot." When the ball dropped into the hole, Trevino responded: "It can't get any prettier than that."

Trevino spent the morning working over the TPC Stadium Golf Course at PGA West. Then he painted it green, the color of money.

Nobody else won even one skin. Trevino got them all, helped by some hard-luck putting by Nicklaus, and finished off with a $35,000 skin on No. 18.

So for a single day's work, Trevino won $285,000. Added to the $25,000 skin he won Saturday, Trevino wound up as the big winner in the fifth version of the Skins Game with a two-day total of $310,000.

Nicklaus and Fuzzy Zoeller finished with $70,000, which was their nine-hole total. Meanwhile, the big loser, if you can actually include multi-millionaires in that category, was once again Arnold Palmer, who was blanked for the second day in a row and the second time in four years.

Zoeller was not much a factor, although he did halve four holes with a pair of birdies and a pair of pars, and Palmer was even less of a factor, but Nicklaus kept things interesting with his putting.

On 11, his 20-footer lipped out and the $25,000 skin carried over to 12, where Trevino took it with a 20-foot birdie worth a combined $50,000.

Nicklaus missed an 18-footer on 13 when he sent it inches to the left and on 14, which was a $70,000 carryover, his 30-foot try for a birdie again broke slightly to the left.

Nicklaus, who also just missed a 30-footer on 18, halved 16 with Zoeller on a $140,000 skin, which inflated the value of No. 17 to $175,000 for Trevino. Pete Dye, who designed the course, named the par-3 17th hole "Alcatraz" because the green is almost completely surrounded by water. And of course, if you miss it, you're in a watery prison.

The ways to get to the green are kind of limited. You can get there by a narrow walkway or you can take a boat. Trevino's ball got there on the fly, bounced about 10 feet short of the flagstick and rolled into the hole.

Trevino could remember only one other hole in one. He said he made it at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, Mass., but he was unable to recall the exactg year. About ten years ago, he thought.

Unlike his Skins hole in one, his first was different.

"I didn't get to see it," Trevino said. "I stayed out all night the night before and I wasn't seeing too well."

Let's put Trevino's hole in one into perspective--with a single shot, he won more than triple his PGA Tour winnings for the year.

In addition, with his skin on 18, Trevino also won a Toyota Supra automobile. Since Trevino endorses the same make of car and his career PGA money earnings were $3.26 million when he got here this weekend, he hardly needed it.

"I get all mine free," Trevino said. "I don't need a car."

Maybe you can sympathize. A car? These golfers deal in Lear jets. Nicklaus won a Rolex watch for the first skin Saturday. But with more than $4.9 million in career PGA earnings, Nicklaus probably tips Rolexes.

After Trevino's hole in one, his playing partners found themselves understandably upstaged. Nicklaus hit next and then Zoeller was up.

As he teed his ball, an imploring voice was heard in the gallery: "In the hole, Fuzzy."

No problem, coming right up, said Zoeller: "Oh, yeah."

Trevino raised both his arms and did a little dance after about a two-second delayed reaction to the hole in one. It was an historic occasion, according to Nicklaus.

"It was the first time in my life I heard him shut up," Nicklaus said.

All he was trying to do, Trevino said, was hit the ball straight.

"I knew when I hit it, it would be close, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it was going to go in," Trevino said.

Trevino, who said he was wearing his contact lenses, had a good view of the ball until the last moment.

"I saw it disappear," he said.

That's the way the money went, too, right into Trevino's deep pockets.

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