VERONA, N.Y. — Notah Begay III couldn’t have scripted it any better.
With more than 3,000 awestruck fans watching his every move, Tiger Woods captured the second annual Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge on Monday, surging past Camilo Villegas in the closing holes at Turning Stone Resort’s Atunyote Golf Club.
After Villegas won US$180,000 with a birdie at the 14th hole to boost his winnings for the day to $200,000 in the skins game format, Woods won the next three holes to finish with $230,000.
Begay birdied No. 18 for $70,000, while Canada’s Mike Weir was shut out for the second straight year.
Begay received a cheque for $750,000 for his foundation and Woods, his roommate in college at Stanford and his longtime friend, departed with the winning trophy, a piece of Pueblo Indian black pottery from Begay’s home state of New Mexico.
It was a rare appearance by the world’s top player, whose schedule leaves little room for such forays.
Woods was glowing afterward, the stunning loss to Y.E. Yang in the PGA Championship a week ago erased by a few swings for charity.
“Today was incredible, to come here and bring awareness to what Notah is trying to do,” said Woods, who won five holes to three for Villegas.
The event is a collaboration between the Oneida Indian Nation of New York and San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians of California.
Begay, the only full-blooded Native American to play on the PGA Tour, established his foundation in 2005.
It uses the sports of golf and soccer to promote physical fitness and wellness among Native American youth, who are plagued by obesity and diabetes.
The last time Woods appeared in a major skins game format was in 2005.