RENO - It was an abbreviated preview of what's to come, but most of the six PGA Tour players were all smiles after the 1st annual Reno Dodge Celebrity Skins Classic on Tuesday at Montreux Golf and Country Club.
Chris Perry and teammate Fred Funk, however, were just a little happier than the others.
Perry and Funk won the event at the Reno-Tahoe Open after combining to win $8,000 in skins. $5,000 was won when Perry placed his chip shot within three feet of the pin during a playoff on No. 18. Perry's chip just rolled past Peter Jacobsen's chip, which landed about seven-feet from the hole.
Jacobsen, who's management company runs the RTO, finished in third place with partner Brian Henninger after the two combined to win $2,000.
The biggest surprise, kind of, may have been the two-man celebrity team of Don Weir and Jim Bauserman. Weir and Bauserman were given an extra stroke because of the handicap rating on certain holes. They finished in second place after winning $6,000 in skins.
"I'll take all the strokes they'll give me," said Weir, who owns Don Weir's Dodge in Reno.
Jean Van De Velde, last year's RTO runner-up, and teammate Billy Andrade were shutout, finishing in last place. Van De Velde lost a four-hole playoff to 2000 RTO champion Scott Verplank, who won't be back to defend his title because he'll compete in the NEC/World Golf Championships, held the same weekend as the RTO.
A small gallery followed the eight-man group throughout the front nine at the Jack Nicklaus designed course. The nine-hole event used an alternating shot format. And while the gallery wasn't as large as what's to be expected when first round starts on Thursday, Perry said he still felt some pressure.
"I tend to be really hard on myself," said Perry, who's finished in the top 30 on the PGA Tour money list the past two years. "It was nice to get out and let loose. It's kind of low key and fun."
But Weir, who made an 8-foot birdie on No. 6 that won his team $3,000, said just getting a chance to play with professionals was special. And beating out four of them was even better.
"We did pretty well for a couple of hackers," Weir said. "These guys have a lot fun and sit back and joke around. But they still make you a little nervous. They are great ambassadors to the game. It was a lot of fun."
All the winners plan to donate the money to charity. The RTO pre-tournament festivities continue today with the Celebrity Pro-Am Tournament.