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O'Meara snaps skid, wins Skins

©Associated Press

December 2, 2002

INDIO, Calif. -- Every now and then, Mark O'Meara still can get the best of Tiger Woods.

More frequently, someone with a camera gets to Woods.

O'Meara won the Skins Game for his first victory of any kind in four years. He collected three skins worth $210,000 with a 2-foot birdie on the 15th and secured the title Sunday with a 20-foot birdie on the 17th.

"It's been a while since I won anything," said O'Meara, whose last victory came in the '98 Skins Game. That was the year he held off Woods to win the British Open and beat Woods in the final of the World Match Play Championship in England.

The birdie on the 17th gave O'Meara eight skins and $405,000 over two days and removed the suspense from the final hole -- a single skin worth $200,000.

No suspense, but a lot of action.

Woods needed to get up-and-down for birdie from a back bunker to keep Phil Mickelson from capturing the final skin. A man standing behind Woods clicked his camera in the middle of his swing, and Woods looked back in disgust as the ball rolled 15 feet by the hole.

"I flinched," Woods said. "I was lucky to keep the ball on the green."

Caddie Steve Williams dropped the man's camera in the lake.

Mickelson, in danger of being shut out on the final day, finished in second with three skins and $300,000. Fred Couples claimed two skins for $170,000. Woods was last with $125,000, winning his only skin on the opening hole with an 18-foot eagle. He finished with four skins over two days.

"That's better than I usually do," Woods said. He won only five skins in his past three Skins Games combined.

* * *

NEDBANK CHALLENGE: Ernie Els shot a course-record 9-under 63 for an eight-stroke win over Colin Montgomerie in the Nedbank Challenge at Sun City, South Africa. Els had nine birdies and finished 21-under 267 to claim the $2-million prize, the richest in golf. Montgomerie had three birdies and eagle on the back nine, finishing with 67.

AUSTRALIAN PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Peter Lonard and Jarrod Moseley shared the title in Coolum when darkness halted play after one playoff hole. Lonard rallied from five off the lead with 4-under 68, and Moseley shot 1-over 73. They finished 17-under 271.

HONG KONG OPEN: Fredrik Jacobson shot 5-under 64 to win by two strokes for his first title in seven years on the PGA European Tour. He finished 16-under 260. Jorge Berendt and Henrik Nystrom shot 67 to tie for second.

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