Saturday, July 18, 2009
Fuhr, Rhoden fire 67s to take Tahoe lead
STATELINE, Nev. -- NHL Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr had two eagles and seven-time champion Rick Rhoden birdied five of the last seven holes Saturday to tie for the second-round lead at the 20th annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe.
Both shot a 5-under-par 67 for a two-day total of 56 points in the modified Stableford scoring system. The format awards six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus-two for double bogey or worse.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, the first-round leader with 27 points, shot even par Saturday to get to 49 points in a tie for third with former hockey player Dan Quinn -- a four-time winner of the tourney with a $125,000 first-place check.
Fuhr's two eagles included a 60-foot putt on the 536-yard, par-5 fourth hole to go with two birdies and offset a pair of bogeys for a tourney-record 32 points for the day at Edgewood-Tahoe Golf Course on the shores of the lake atop the Sierra.
"A bit of a roller coaster," said Fuhr, a goalie with six different NHL teams who won five Stanley Cup Championships with the Edmonton Oilers from 1981-1991.
"I missed six or seven 4-footers but kind of made up for it with a Hail Mary that kind of fell in the cup," he said. "It was one of those that shouldn't have gone in. But I had a lot of 4-footers that should have gone in."
Rhoden, the former major league pitcher who has played on the PGA's Champions Tour, bogeyed the first hole but birdied four of the next six. He also bogeyed the 10th hole before finishing strong.
"I had eight birdies so I've got nothing to complain about," Rhoden said. "As bad as I putted yesterday, I putted that good today."
"Grant hit the ball great today. He could have played even better," he said.
Next is Jeremy Roenick with 47 points after a second-round 68. He is another of the five past or present NHL stars in the top nine on the leaderboard. The others are Pierre LaRouche -- who is tied with former NFL quarterbacks Trent Dilfer and Billy Joe Tolliver with 44 points -- and Bobby Hull, who shot a 68 Saturday to total 40 points.
Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway was 10th with 39 points after shooting even par Saturday.
Rhoden is the defending champ but has never won the tournament in consecutive years. He said the tournament record of 78 Stableford points that Chris Chandler set in 2007 could fall during Sunday's final round.
"You never know in golf. Every day is different," Rhoden said. "The last day is always a little more nerve-racking."
Fuhr, who tied for third with Romo last year, said he was looking forward to the challenge.
"Obviously Rick is as good as there is," he said.
As usual, the tournament play wasn't the only attraction. More than 75 boats set anchor along the beach bordering the party atmosphere at the par-3 17th, all of them backed in -- a practice that began after actor Matthew Settle sliced his tee shot through a boat's windshield in 2006.
On the other side of the fairway, celebrity chef Guy Fieri was smoking his spicy Pork en Fuego sandwiches at a portable kitchen and serving them up to players and caddies as they walked by.
Kevin Nealon, paired with Charles Barkley, had his usual band of supporters wearing "Team Nealon" T-shirts with a catch phrase on the back that over the years has included "Altitude with an attitude," "Shooting for the middle of the pack," "It could happen..." and last year's "We're due."
This year it's "Tahoe owes us..."
Meanwhile, actor Ray Romano continued to plug his new movie "Ice Age 3" -- sort of.
"Go buy a ticket for Ice Age and then go in and watch Harry Potter," he told a group of autograph seekers at the end of his round.
Romano was in a group with actor Brian Baumgartner, who plays Kevin on NBC's sitcom "The Office." His approach shot on his final hole ran 160 yards and trickled onto the green 6 feet from the hole.
"Nice shot, Bruce!" a fan shouted.
"It's Brian," he said, "but thanks."