AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP | Dan Quinn wins his fifth American Century Championship
Special to the Tribune
STATELINE, Nev. – Dan Quinn birdied three of his first seven holes Sunday to pull ahead and then stretched his lead on the back nine to earn a six-point victory over former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien in the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
Quinn finished with 66 points. Rypien was second with 60 points and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway finished third with 59 points. It was the fifth win at the event for Quinn, a former NHL star who will caddie for Ernie Els at next week’s Canadian Open. Els won the British Open earlier in the day.
Quinn, who collected $125,000 from a total purse of $600,000, started the day three points behind second-round leader Rypien, who had 43 points after 54 holes. The event uses a Stableford scoring system that awards graduated points for pars or better.
Billy Joe Tolliver finished fourth with 58 points; Romo was fifth with 56 points, and Joe Theismann was sixth with 53 points. Former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder, who shared the first-round lead with defending champion Jack Wagner, finished in seventh place with 52 points. Wagner slipped to eighth place with 51 points.
At the half-way point, Quinn held a 52-50 lead over Rypien. The former hockey player birdied the par-4 11th to move in front by four points over Rypien and five points over Romo with three good scoring holes remaining; especially the par-5 16th and 18th.
Quinn then made a 25-footer for birdie on 16 to close the door on his challengers.
“My thought was just to get that putt to the hole,” Quinn said. “When I made it I thought, ‘Unless I did something crazy, I looked pretty solid.'”
Romo failed to birdie the 16th and then took a double bogey on the final hole to lose two points.
“I just need to compete more,” said Romo, who heads to training camp next week. “I don’t play enough to compete in a three or four-day event. Golf is a tough game.”
“I’m lucky to be in the position I am in,” Quinn said after Saturday’s second round. “I think it will be decided on the last three holes and that’s exactly what NBC wants.”
He was wrong. Quinn salted the win away long before that.
– Craig Smith is the former director of media relations for the U.S. Golf Association.
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