AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP | More power to the entertainers as Ribeiro wins long drive event |

AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP | More power to the entertainers as Ribeiro wins long drive event

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Kimberly Kuntz / Tahoe Daily TribuneAlfonso Ribeiro watches one of his drives en route to winning the American Century Championship long drive contest Friday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Coruse.

STATELINE – Chalk up another big win for the entertainers.

Actor Alfonso Ribeiro became the first nonsports star to win the American Century Championship long drive contest on Friday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

Ribeiro, the former star of the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air, dethroned defending champion A.J. of the Green Bay Packers by smacking a winning drive of 333 yards.

Actor Jack Wagner scored the entertainers’ first ACC tournament title when he captured the championship in 2006.

Raiders’ quarterback Kyle Boller was runner-up with a poke of 323 yards. Actor Oliver Hudson placed third at 315 yards and Hawk came in fourth at 295.

Among the other six participants, former Braves’ standout pitcher John Smoltz was fifth at 294 yards and ex-Redskins’ quarterback Joe Theismann came in eighth at 270 yards.

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Wagner may try Champions Tour

Now that Wagner is 50 years old, the former “Melrose Place” star is considering a try at making the Champions Tour.

Wagner shares the first-round ACC lead with Jeremy Roenick and has finished in the tournament’s top 10 14 times in 20 appearances.

“I think most of the guys out here have always wanted to know in the long run how we would all stand,” Wagner said. “If most of these guys really worked at their game, I think we’d be surprised we might be more competitive than just with each other.”

Record day at ACC

Another record-breaking tournament attendance total could be in the works.

Attendance was up 10 percent for Thursday’s celebrity-amateur tournament over last year, which was a previous record day, according to tournament public relations director Phil Weidinger.

Wagner has noticed more fans behind the ropes.

“The way guys like me notice the bigger crowds is if you get like maybe 20 or 30 with you. That means they’re bigger, because most of them are with Michael and John and all those guys,” Wagner said. “It’s great that the galleries are growing. And I think the field this year has a lot of new talent in it and a lot of diverse entertainers as well as athletes. It’s just a cool event, cool week.”

Official tournament attendance figures won’t be available until Sunday. More than 37,000 fans attended last year’s six-day event.

Caddies get no respect

Caddie Aaron Roques delivered the line of the day while tournament play was suspended because of a thunderstorm.

Roques, the caddie of former NFL offensive lineman Jonathan Ogden, was flabbergasted when a course official told his player to stop play and drop his club on the 18th hole. The horn had just sounded to suspend play until lightning moved out of the area.

Ogden obliged, but his caddie felt insulted.

“I’m like, ‘Wait a minute.’ These guys aren’t allowed to play anymore because they might get struck by lightning, and I’m standing here holding a bag full of irons. They didn’t put any halt on us carrying the bag,” Roques said.