Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

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July 19, 2009
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Repeat ACC title a first for Rhoden

STATELINE - Even when Rick Rhoden plays one of his worst celebrity rounds ever, the other stars can't beat him.

The former Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher shot a 2-over 74 to win his eighth American Century Championship by three points Sunday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

Rhoden joined Dan Quinn as the only repeat champions in the 20-year history of the event.

"That was the worst round of golf I've played in two months," said Rhoden, who fired a round of 76 when he won in 2003 and 1991. "I played bad pretty much the whole day. I couldn't believe coming in that I still had the lead because of the way I was playing."

Rhoden's final round of 18 points isn't his worst to date in the modified Stableford scoring system. He scored 15 points in the format's first year in 2003.

Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo finished second with 71 points. Romo missed a short birdie putt on No. 17 that would have forced a playoff.

Quinn, who trailed by just a point on the final tee, double-bogeyed the 18th hole and finished in at third-place tie with Billy Joe Tolliver at 70 points.

"If I make birdie, it's mine," Quinn said.

Quinn and Rhoden each drove into the left rough off the 18th tee. Both players knocked their second shots into wedge position short of Lake Laimbeer. After the 56-year-old Rhoden hit his approach safely onto the green, Quinn made a rare mistake with his 60-degree wedge. He came over the top of the shot, sending the ball into the pond on the bounce. The wet ball sealed Rhoden's latest championship and the $125,000 first prize.

"I just tried to get cute on the last one. I tried to keep it under the hole and have an 8-10-footer up the hill. I just pulled it a hair," Quinn said. "To figure out why I came over the top of a couple shots coming in, I don't know, I just did it."

Rhoden two-putted for par and a final Stableford score of 74.

Quinn dropped out of second place when he three-putted from 20 feet for a double-bogey.

While Rhoden struggled to make pars and birdies, Quinn was making the most gallery noise with his play. Quinn birdied 11 and 12 - his third and fourth of the day - to move within two points of Rhoden.

"I thought I was in the driver's seat," said Quinn, who looked back to bogeys he made on No. 14 and No. 15 - the latter one following a tee ball in the middle of the fairway - as the unraveling of his championship bid.

Despite the bogeys, Quinn made one final charge. Rhoden, nursing a four-point lead over Quinn, hit two long and precise shots into the par-5 16th green, leaving a short pitch to the hole. But he overcooked his chip, leaving a tricky six-foot birdie putt.

Meanwhile, Quinn was forced to pitch out to the fairway on his second stroke after his tee ball went too far left. His approach to the green left him with a 20-foot downhill putt, which he rolled in, while Rhoden pulled his short birdie putt and settled for par. The huge swing left Quinn only two points behind instead of six with two holes to play.

"Danny made a great putt there," Rhoden said. "I knew coming in that Danny was going to be the toughest competition for me."

Quinn nearly took the lead on the 17th hole as his 40-putt birdie putt was tracking to hole before stopping just shy of the cup. Rhoden the missed a short putt for par, reducing his lead over Quinn to a single point. By then, Rhoden was trying to overcome a bout of nervousness that he hadn't experienced in prior championships.

"When you get under pressure, you get a little anxious and you move a little quicker," he said. "I was really surprised the way I felt near the end because I've been in the last group 15 times here. Last year I was very calm coming in, and I was behind. I just didn't feel comfortable over the ball.

"Sometimes in golf more than other sports, the harder you try, the harder it gets."

Tolliver, a two-time champion, made up some ground on the front nine, scoring 17 points, but he never got close enough at the end to become a factor. He parred 16 and bogeyed 17 to come up short.

"Guys just didn't play as well as they normally play down the stretch," Tolliver said. "Rhoden didn't make as many birdies as he normally does. 'Quinny' let two guys back in it."

A record 37,205 spectators turned out for the six-day event, shattering last year's mark of 31,220. Contributing to the record total were the record-breaking 10,500 fans who passed through the front gate on Saturday.

Former San Francisco 49ers' all-pro receiver Jerry Rice enjoyed his best finish in 13 appearances with a 10th-place result. Michael Jordan, one of the NBA all-time greats, delivered his second-best finish ever, as claimed 17th out of 90 participants.

Charles Barkley was overtaken by Kevin Nealon and Chuck Liddell on the final day. Barkley finished last with -97 points, three less than Liddell, the mixed martial arts fighter.

NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor equaled the low round of the day, shooting a 3-under 69, vaulting the former Giants' star into a 13th-place tie.

AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP

FINAL RESULTS

Sunday

At Edgewood Tahoe GC

Purse: $ 600000

POS NAME SCORES TOTAL OFFICIAL MONEY

1 Rick Rhoden 25,31,18-74 $125000

2 Tony Romo 27,22,22-71 Amateur

T3 Billy Joe Tolliver 21,23,26-70 $35000

T3 Dan Quinn 21,28,21-70 $25000

5 Jeremy Roenick 20,27,22-69 $20000

6 Grant Fuhr 24,32,11-67 $17450

7 Mike Modano 17,21,26-64 $14621

8 Trent Dilfer 23,21,19-63 $12391

9 Pierre Larouche 21,23,18-62 $10891

10 Jerry Rice 18,16,19-53 $10141

T11 Jack Wagner 17,21,14-52 $6835

T11 Brett Hull 14,26,12-52 $6835

T13 Lawrence Taylor 12,13,26-51 $6645

T13 John Elway 19,20,12-51 Amateur

T15 Joe Buck 17,13,19-49 Amateur

T15 Marshall Faulk 11,21,17-49 $6465

T17 Michael Jordan 15,22,11-48 Amateur

T17 Vinny Testaverde 20,17,11-48 $6285

19 Mark Rypien 11,15,21-47 $6150

20 Vince Coleman 13,18,15-46 $6060

T21 Joe Theismann 7,17,21-45 $5880

T21 Chris Chandler 12,18,15-45 $5880

T21 Steve Bartkowski 15,19,11-45 $5880

24 Anfernee Hardaway 11,12,21-44 $5700

25 Oliver Hudson 18,12,12-42 Amateur

26 Sterling Sharpe 9,23,9-41 $5520

T27 Ray Allen 8,17,15-40 Amateur

T27 Alfonso Ribeiro 12,16,12-40 $5340

T27 Ken Whisenhunt 19,12,9-40 $5340

T30 Dan Marino 13,13,13-39 Amateur

T30 Ben Roethlisberger 11,19,9-39 $5115

32 Trent Edwards 11,21,6-38 Amateur

T33 Bret Saberhagen 3,17,17-37 $4755

T33 Mario Lemieux 11,12,14-37 $4755

T33 Dan Quayle 14,8,15-7 Amateur

T33 Carson Palmer 13,14,10-37 $4755

37 Jim McMahon 3,18,15-36 $4530

38 Tim Brown 9,13,12-34 Amateur

T39 Derek Anderson 10,6,17-33 Amateur

T39 Dick Jauron 16,8,9-33 $4305

41 Bill Laimbeer 15,11,6-32 $4170

42 Maury Povich 15,1,15-31 Amateur

T43 Wally Szczerbiak 9,7,14-30 Amateur

T43 Joe Carter 9,15,6-30 Amateur

45 Steve Spurrier 11,8,7-26 $3810

46 Aaron Rodgers 5,11,9-25 $3720

47 Matt Ryan 1,12,8-21 $3630

T48 Emmitt Smith 4,-2,17-19 Amateur

T48 Kenny Lofton 4,3,12-19 $3495

50 Marcus Allen 1,10,6-17 $3360

T51 Ozzie Smith 6,4,6-16 $3225

T51 Jerome Bettis 12,2,2-16 Amateur

T53 Ronde Barber 5,8,1-14 Amateur

T53 Bode Miller 7,8,-1-14 $3045

55 Wayne Gretzky 0,5,8-13 Amateur

T56 David Wells 5,1,6-12 $2775

T56 Dale Jarrett 2,6,4-12 Amateur

58 Steve Beuerlein 2,0,8-10 $2640

59 Dan Jansen 5,8,-5-8 $2550

T60 Wes Welker 4,-4,7-7 Amateur

T60 Mike Eruzione 14,-10,3-7 $2415

62 John Lynch 1,7,-3-5 Amateur

T63 Paul Oneill 1,-1,3-3 $2145

T63 Todd Heap 4,-3,2-3 $2145

T65 Jason Kidd 1,-7,8-2 Amateur

T65 Mike Shanahan -4,4,2-2 $1965

67 Daniel Negreanu -3,8,-4-1 $1830

68 Neil Lomax 2,-10,8-0 Amateur

T69 Jonathan Ogden -8,7,0--1 $1605

T69 Bruce McGill -1,4,-4--1 $1605

71 Terence Newman -14,-1,7--8 Amateur

72 Ray Romano -5,3,-9--11 Amateur

73 Herm Edwards -4,1,-9--12 $1290

T74 Alonzo Mourning -12,-4,-1--17 Amateur

T74 Tino Martinez -9,-5,-3--17 Amateur

T74 Matt Schaub -15,6,-8--17 Amateur

77 Aj Hawk -10,3,-11--18 $970

78 Jack Del Rio -11,-11,-3--25 Amateur

79 Brian Baumgartner -8,-9,-9--26 Amateur

80 Richard Dent -11,-15,-3--29 $793

81 Shane Battier -8,-5,-17--30 Amateur

82 Antoine Walker -13,-10,-10--33 $693

83 Trent Green -15,-14,-18--47 $648

84 Dennis Haysbert -17,-18,-14--49 Amateur

85 Digger Phelps -12,-13,-25--50 Amateur

86 Darryl Strawberry -20,-19,-19--58 $530

87 Kevin Nealon -36,-27,-13--76 $495

88 Chuck Liddell -36,-28,-30--94 $463

89 Charles Barkley -30,-31,-36--97 Amateur

90 Janet Gretzky WD WD Amateur

Total Purse Distributed: 600000

Pros Only Purse Distributed: 439536

Charity Purse Distributed: 160464


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 19, 2009 11:18PM Published Jul 19, 2009 08:23PM Copyright 2009 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.