AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP | Record-setting Tolliver builds big lead
STATELINE – Billy Joe Tolliver put together a round of golf Saturday that would have pleased a pro tour player.
Tolliver made an eagle and six birdies en route to a 6-under-par 66 and a record 33-point round in the modified Stableford scoring format, taking command of the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
The former NFL quarterback has a two-round total of 58 points and carries an 11-point lead into Sunday’s final round of the 54-hole tournament for past and present sports and entertainment stars. Tolliver’s second-round point total and his lead going into final 18 holes are records as well.
“I don’t know about records. They really don’t concern me,” Tolliver said. “I just want one more point than whoever is behind me.”
First-round co-leader Jack Wagner is in second place with 47 points, four-time winner Dan Quinn is third with 46 and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway is fourth with 45.
“(Tolliver’s) swing is in a really good position right row,” said Wagner, who is considering trying to qualify for the 2011 Champions Tour now that he is 50 years old. “His whole game has confidence. He made all of his putts and drove the ball unbelievably so.”
Tolliver triggered his low score by playing Edgewood Tahoe’s four par-5 in 5-under par. He expanded his lead to double digits by overpowering the 546-yard par-5 16th hole. After a drive of nearly 360 yards, Tolliver landed his approach shot within three feet of the hole. The short eagle putt was worth six points and extended Tolliver’s edge over Wagner to 11 points.
“You have to get all of the par 5s, and I got all of them,” Tolliver said. “We all played well. The difference is I made my putts wand Jack and Jeremy Roenick ran theirs over the edge.”
The ex-San Diego Chargers’ quarterback added a par and birdie over the final two holes to maintain the 11-point lead over Wagner.
“Jack is probably six inches away from shooting 66 or 67 himself,” said Tolliver of his playing partner who barely missed a number of birdie putts.
Wagner’s 21-point round included four birdies, but a double bogey and an inability to capitalize on other birdie attempts prevented him from scoring lower. Those missed birdies may have been for other reasons, according to Wagner.
“(Billy Joe and Jeremy) hit it really close on one, and I had about 12 feet and made it for (birdie), and they both missed. They were both threatening my life on two tee,” Wagner said. “‘We’re serious. We will be killing you if you play well today. We’re bigger, and we really don’t like actors, or you.’
“They made it really clear, so I kind of backed off.”
Elway tied for the second-best round of the day, birdieing two of the first three holes on his way to a score of 25. The Super Bowl XXXIII MVP said that his second round score could have been better with more aggressive putting.
“To make a lot of putts you have to be pretty aggressive. I just didn’t want to have that three-footer coming back all day, so I was just lagging it up there around the hole,” Elway said.
Elway has participated in all 21 championships and is still pursuing that elusive title like he did for much of his NFL career. As a quarterback for the Denver Broncos during two Super Bowl title runs, Elway could take chances to get his team going. That isn’t the case in golf, he said.
“For me I have to stay patient,” Elway said. “When I get pressing in this game is when I really go sideways. In golf you have to kind of take it one shot at a time and really be patient with the yardage and make the best swing that you can.”
Tolliver is seeking his third championship in the tournament’s 21-year history.
“I heard Billy was playing really well coming in here,” Elway said. “He’s a guy who plays this golf course very well and can putt the ball.”
Elway said catching Tolliver won’t be easy and may take some late-night help.
“Obviously if we can get him to stay up late and play some cards with us, but that’s not his M.O. If we could get him to do something like that, we might have a chance,” Elway said. “We’re going to need career rounds (Sunday) to catch him.”
The double-digit lead doesn’t give Tolliver any extra confidence going into the final 18 holes.
“If I can get 33 points (in a round), I know any of these guys on the leader board can get 33 points,” Tolliver said. “It’s easy out here if you don’t manage your game to drop 15, 17 or 18 points.”
On the other end of the ACC tournament, Charles Barkley is in jeopardy of finishing last for the fifth straight year. The NBA Hall of Famer slid to a round of -31 on Saturday for a -59 total, two points behind Steve Holcomb, who was a member of the U.S. four-man bobsled team that won a gold medal in Vancouver.
Former Atlanta Braves’ pitcher John Smoltz crafted a 25-point round to vault into fifth place with 41 points. Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo, who finished second a year ago, is tied for eighth with 37 points.
Jerry Rice, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month, is tied for 26th place with 27 points, NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 32nd with 22 points and former world boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya is tied for 39th place with 19 points.
Two-time defending champion Rick Rhoden fell well off Tolliver’s pace and is tied for 13th place with 35 points.
2010 AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP SCORES
At Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Stateline, Nev.
Purse: $ 600,000
Par: 36 36 – 72
Modified Stableford Scoring Format
Pos Player Scores Total
1 Billy Joe Tolliver 25-33-58
2 Jack Wagner 26-21-47
3 Dan Quinn 23-23-46
4 John Elway 20-25-45
5 John Smoltz 16-25-41
T6 Tony Romo 21-19-40
T6 Jeremy Roenick 26-14-40
T8 Trent Dilfer 19-18-37
T8 Mark Rypien 21-16-37
T8 Jamie Langenbrunner 20-17-37
T11 Steve Bartkowski 16-20-36
T11 *Mark Mulder 24-12-36
T13 Joe Theismann 15-20-35
T13 Mike Modano 18-17-35
T13 Rick Rhoden 21-14-35
T16 Vince Coleman 16-18-34
T16 Grant Fuhr 18-16-34
18 Dale Jarrett 17-16-33
19 Brett Hull 14-18-32
T20 Bret Saberhagen 12-19-31
T20 Vinny Testaverde 24-7-31
T22 Marshall Faulk 7-23-30
T22 Derek Anderson 16-14-30
T22 *Joe Sakic 19-11-30
25 Ken Whisenhunt 8-21-29
T26 Jerry Rice 10-17-27
T26 Kyle Boller 12-15-27
T26 Neil Lomax 16-11-27
T29 Chris Chandler 13-13-26
T29 Oliver Hudson 11-15-26
31 Stephen Curry 9-14-23
32 Michael Jordan 13-9-22
T33 Matt Ryan 9-12-21
T33 Sterling Sharpe 6-15-21
T33 Trent Edwards 8-13-21
T33 Wally Szczerbiak 11-10-21
T37 Aaron Rodgers 11-9-20
T37 Todd Haley 18-2-20
T39 Dan Jansen 2-17-19
T39 Jim McMahon 5-14-19
T39 *Ozzie Smith 7-12-19
T39 *Oscar De La Hoya 12-7-19
T43 Mike Eruzione 3-15-18
T43 Alfonso Ribeiro 14-4-18
T43 Robbie Gould 20-(-2)- 18
46 Steve Beuerlein 6-10-16
47 *Troy Aikman 16-(-4)- 12
48 Dan Quayle 5-6-11
49 Steve Spurrier 4-6-10
50 Fred McGriff -5-14-9
T51 Jonathan Ogden 1-7-8
T51 Rodney Harrison 2-6-8
T51 *Greg Maddux 3-5-8
T51 Ronde Barber 5-3-8
T55 Jerome Bettis 4-3-7
T55 Kenny Lofton 5-2-7
T57 Ray Allen -5-11-6
T57 Bode Miller 4-2-6
T57 Joe Don Rooney 4-2-6
60 Joe Carter -5-8-3
T61 David Wells -3-5-2
T61 Marcus Allen -2-4-2
T61 John Lynch 8-(-6)- 2
64 Jason Kidd 0-0-0
65 *Michael Bolton 0-(-1)- -1
66 Aj Hawk -1-(-1)- -2
T67 Mike Shanahan -2-(-2)- -4
T67 John O’Hurley 3-(-7)- -4
69 *Stone Phillips -6-1- -5
70 Digger Phelps -3-(-4)- -7
71 Herm Edwards 4-(-12)- -8
72 Brian Baumgartner -2-(-10)- -12
73 Jared Allen -6-(-8)- -14
T74 Jack Del Rio -14-(-1)- -15
T74 Winky Wright -13-(-2)- -15
76 Matt Schaub -6-(-10)- -16
T77 *Don Cheadle -10-(-9)- -19
T77 Shane Battier -10-(-9)- -19
79 *Lou Holtz -10-(-10)- -20
80 Ray Romano -6-(-17)- -23
81 Trent Green -14-(-15)- -29
82 *Steven Holcomb -27-(-30)- -57
83 Charles Barkley -28-(-31)- -59
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