STATELINE, Nev. (AP) — Billy Joe Tolliver played just like a pro on Saturday.
A pro golfer, not a pro football player.
Tolliver made an eagle and six birdies on his way to a 6-under 66 and a record 33-point round in the modified Stableford scoring format, and took a commanding lead into the final round of the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
The former NFL quarterback had a two-round total of 58 points, 11 more than first-round co leader Jack Wagner. Four-time champion Dan Quinn is third with 46 points, and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway is another point back in frouth place.
Tolliver’s second-round point total and lead going into the final 18 holes are records for the tournament, which features past and present sports and entertainment stars.
“I don’t know about records. They really don’t concern me,” Tolliver said. “I just want one more point than woever is behind me.”
Tolliver played the four par-5s at Edgewood Tahoe in 5 under, and pushed his lead to double figures when he overpowered the 546-yard par-5 16th. After a drive of nearly 360 yards, he hit his approach shot within 3 feet and made the eagle putt worth six points.
“You have to get all of hte par-5s, and I got all of them,” Tolliver said. “We all played well. The difference is I made my putts and Jack and Jeremy Roenick ran theirs over the edge.”
The former San Diego Chargers quarterback added a par and a birdie over the final two holes.
“(Tolliver’s) swing is in a really good position right now,” said Wagner, who is considering trying to qualify for the Champions Tour next year, now that he’s 50 years old. “His whole game has confidence. He made all of his putts and drove the ball unbelievably so.”
Wagner’s 21-point round included four birdies, but a double bogey and his inability to capitalize on other birdie attempts prevented him from going lower.
Elway tied for the second-best round of the day, with birdies on two of his first three holes on his way to 25 points. The former Supe Bowl MVP said his round also could have been better if he had been more aggressive on the greens.
“To make a lot of putts you have to be pretty aggressive. I just didn’t want to have that 3-footer coming back all day,” he said. “I was just lagging it up there around the hole.”
Elway has participated in all 21 championships and is still pursuing that elusive title.
“I have to stay patient,” he said. “When I get pressing in this game is when I really go sideways. In golf, you have to kind of take it one shot at a time and really be patient with the yardage and make the best swing that you can.”
Elway said that catching Tolliver won’t be easy and may take some late-night help.
“Obvoiusly, if we can get him to stay up late and play some cards with us … we might have a chance,” he said, jokingly. “We’re going to need career rounds (Sunday) to catch him.”
At the other end of the scoreboard, Charles Barkley is in jeopardy of finishing last for the fifth straight year. The NBA Hall of Famer slid to a round of minus-31 on Saturday and is minus-59 for the tournament, two points behind Steve Holcomb, a member of the U.S. four-man bobsled team that won a gold medal in Vancouver.
Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz crafted a 25-point round to vault into fifth place with 41 points. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who finished second a year ago, is tied for eighth with 37 points.
Two-time defending champion Rick Rhoden is tied for 13th place with 35 points.
Jerry Rice, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month, is tied for 26th place with 27 points, Michael Jordan is 32nd with 22 points and Oscar De La Hoya is tied for 39th place with 19 points.