Former pitcher Rhoden wins seventh Tahoe title
STATELINE, Nev. (AP) Rick Rhoden birdied the last two holes Sunday to win a record seventh American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, edging four-time champ Dan Quinn on the shores of Lake Tahoe where they've been rivals for 18 years.
Rhoden dropped a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th to shoot a 2-under-par 70 and total 68 points in the modified Stableford scoring system, one ahead of Quinn and four ahead of Tony Romo and Grant Fuhr at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
Quinn, a former hockey player, had birdied the 16th and 17th and made an impressive recovery shot from the beach over the trees to the 18th but had to settle for par, opening the door for Rhoden's victory.
The former all-star pitcher had three birdies and one bogey to claim his first victory here since 2003.
"It's been a while since I won. I didn't know if I was ever going to win again because we're getting some really good players out here," said Rhoden, who drove the ball into the rough on No. 18 but hit a good second shot that set up his approach to 6 feet.
"Dan's a great player. You know he's going to be there at the end," he said. "I had a chance. That is all I wanted. I finally made a putt I needed."
Quinn, whose 4-under-par 68 tied the best round of the day along with Fuhr, had one thought as his rival was over his final putt.
"Miss it," he said. "It is what it is. I got beat not today but on Friday when I shot a 76."
The scoring system awards six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, none for bogey and minus-2 for double bogey or worse.
Romo, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback making his debut in the tournament, came up a bit short on a 40-foot eagle putt on the last hole Sunday to shoot an even-par 72.
Actor Jack Wagner and ex-NHL all-stars Brett Hull and Pierre Larouche were next with 62 points, followed by former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, who won the first event at Tahoe in 1990 and finished with 60 points.
Rhoden started to hit his drive on the par-5 16th but backed off when a boat horn sounded on the lake behind the green. His drive ended up a duck hook into the trees and he ended up with a par on a hole the rest of the front-runners birdied. But he came back with a 15-foot birdie putt and a fist pump on the par-3 17th to set up the dramatic finish and claim the $125,000 winner's check.
Rhoden, a two-time all-star, played for the Los Angeles Dodgers' National League championship teams in 1977 and 1978 and later played for the Pirates, Yankees and Astros.
He and Quinn have dominated play in the celebrity tourney. During a 14-year stretch from 1992-2004, the pair combined to win 10 of the titles.
Charles Barkley, with his unusual stutter-step swing, finished last with minus 81 points.
"It is a very unorthodox swing," said LPGA great Annika Sorenstam, who has a home at Lake Tahoe and helped serve as an analyst for NBC Sports telecast of the event. "I try to not look at it too much to be honest. I don't think it's a good image to have."
Some of the biggest galleries on the course followed the worst golfers, like Barkley and Kevin Nealon, the former Saturday Night Live star now on Showtime's "Weeds" who had minus-49 points.
About 50 people followed him in "Team Nealon" T-shirts. The slogan on the back of the shirts has changed over the years, including: "Altitude with an attitude," "Shooting for the middle of the pack," and "It could happen..."
This year it was "We're due..."
Larry Drynal of Reno was wearing one for the first time this weekend, calling it his "inaugural season" on the team.
"All you have to do to get a shirt," he said, "is to agree to follow him around and root for him."