STATELINE — Stephen Curry isn’t used to talking golf, but he sure looks familiar with it on the course.
The Warriors guard is tied with John Elway and Jeremy Roenick for fourth place with a score of 22 after Day 1 of the three-day celebrity golf tournament.
Curry finished strong with two back-to-back birdies and didn’t hit below par all day. He wasn’t satisfied.
“I think I had like three birdie putts inside of 10 feet that I missed,” Curry said. “I feel I could play a little better; but obviously I hit some other great shots, especially on the backside, that allowed me to play a great round today.”
Curry didn’t have much time to practice for the American Century Championships, what with basketball season wrapping up about a month ago, so he’s just trying to get into a rhythm.
“I found my tempo today, which was good,” Curry said. “Didn’t hit too many bad shots. So if I can make it the same amount of points I did maybe a few more I should be all right.
“Hopefully I can find my way in there after two more days.”
Mulder shakes off Day 1
Mark Mulder is down, but he’s not out after Day 1 of celebrity golf.
“You can’t win the tournament on the first day, but you can lose it, and I was on the verge of doing that,” Mulder said.
The former pitcher wasn’t thrilled about the two double bogeys he hit at No. 6 and 10. He fished with back-to-back birdies to lift his Day 1 score to 17, but those double bogeys and the minus four points they came with were still fresh on his mind.
“If I wouldn’t have had those double bogeys I would be right in position,” Mulder said.
Without the minus four, Mulder figures he would be looking at 23, right among the leaders.
“It’s a big difference when you have those minus two. That’s what hurt,” Mulder said.
But Mulder isn’t out. There are two days left in this tournament, and he would still bet on himself if he could.
“I actually went to go bet on myself last night, but the sports book closed at 10 and I literally walked up at 10:01 when they were cashing out,” Mulder said in disappointment. “My wife did bet on me two days prior. So at least she got one in.”
Birds of a feather
Mulder was matched with fellow pitchers Derek Lowe and Tim Wakefield in Friday’s pairings, and they weren’t the only pairings with similar pasts. Former running backs Emmitt Smith, Jerome Bettis and Marshall Faulk were also paired, as well as kickers Sebastian Janikowski, Robbie Gould and Ryan Succop golfed together. There was even a pairing of former Braves — Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones and David Justice.
No one was talking past playing days once they hit the golf course though.
“We’re all too nervous and too worried about hitting somebody, or hitting a boat on 17 to worry about talking pitching,” Mulder said.
Battier always a good shot
Miami Heat forward Shane Battier showed he knows a thing or two about popping bottles on Thursday.
The NBA champion blasted the cork a whooping 100 feet to claim first in the Korbel Celebrity Spray-Off on No. 17. The effort earned him $5,000 for the charity of his choice.
Former NHL All-Star Center Joe Sakic was runner-up with a blast of 92 feet while NFL Hall of Fame Running Back Emmitt Smith finished in third with an 85-foot launch to move past fourth place finisher former MLB All-Star Pitcher David Wells.
All totaled, 35 celebrities participated in the Spray-Off, which is judged on cork distance, although style and champagne spray added to competition.
The crowd was most entertained by former All-Pro NFL Quarterback Mark Rypien who drenched the crowd with champagne, and NFL Hall of Fame Wide Receiver Jerry Rice who did his signature touchdown dance.
The celebrities will now face off in the Big Break on Saturday when they see who can break panes of glass the hardest.
Haney offers encouraging words
Halfway through Day 1, Hank Haney was getting ready to go check on his latest golfing “project,” aka Michael Phelps, who finished minus 16. And while Haney was making the rounds he saw a lot of talent on the links Friday.
“They’re all really good and it kind of just depends on who’s having a good week,” Haney said.
Haney, who is Tiger Woods’ former swing coach and the star of golfing show The Haney Project, said he already has a few celebrities in mind for next season, but wouldn’t give up any names. He did say he’s not ready to start coaching the general masses just yet.
“Everyone wants to do an average Joe show, but I don’t know who wants to watch an average Joe show,” Haney said.
Haney did, however, offer up some advice for the average Joes among us.
“Nobody ever needs to apologize for their golfing. It’s a hard game,” Haney said. “Just enjoy your good shots and don’t worry about your bad shots.
“In golf, because the swing is so fast and it takes so little time, it has to be error-correction. So you have to do something and then you have to correct it. There’s just not enough time to think about everything you’re supposed to do. You can’t think your way through.”
Miller on the mark
Olympic skier Bode Miller won the Korbel’s closest to the hole contest using an 8 iron to land the ball 10 feet and 11 inches from the 17 hole. He was awarded $5,000 that he donated to the Tahoe Tallac Association.
Heard on the course
World champion surfer Kelly Slater took time out on Hole 17 to sign a sawed-off surfboard during the first day of competition.
For a few women and children it paid to be at the celebrity golf tournament on Thursday.
James Ballangee, who was golfing in the Charles Barkley group during Thursday’s celeb-am tournament, was rumored to be handing out $100 US Bureau of Engraving notes to women and children along the seventh fairway.
One of his golfing buddies said Ballangee won about $1,000,000 gambling at Harrah’s last night. The same golfing buddy said that he had $80,000 in his pocket, which he apparently gave away on the seventh fairway.
“I respect the fans,” Marshall Faulk said. “They see you out and if you don’t want to sign autographs or take pictures then you shouldn’t go out.”
There were a lot of wins, 228 to be exact, in the tee box when the pairing of John Fox, Herm Edwards and Mike Smith hit the golf course together for Day 1 of celebrity golf.