AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP | Roenick, Wagner share first-round lead |

AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP | Roenick, Wagner share first-round lead

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Steve Yingling / Tahoe Daily TribuneActor Jack Wagner tees off on the 18th hole Friday in the first round of the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

STATELINE – Two celebrities that stargazers are accustomed to seeing win the American Century Championship aren’t topping the leader board after Friday’s first round.

Retired NHL player Jeremy Roenick and actor Jack Wagner, the 2005 winner, grabbed a share of the opening-round lead in electrical-storm interrupted 21s championship for sports and entertainment stars. Wagner and Roenick amassed 26 points in the modified Stableford-scoring format and hold a one-point lead over two-time champion Billy Joe Tolliver.

Eight-time champion Rick Rhoden and four-time winner Dan Quinn aren’t far off the pace. Quinn, who last won in 2004, is three points back at 23 and Rhoden, who is seeking an unprecedented third straight victory in the $600,000 event, is at 21.

“I could have shot a pretty low number. It is what it is,” said, Quinn, who bogeyed two of his final three holes.

Retired major league pitcher Mark Mulder and former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde share fourth place with 24 points. Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo, one of the pretournament favorites, and Mark Rypien, the event’s first winner, are tied with Rhoden for seventh place.

First-round play was interrupted 48 minutes as a thunderstorm quickly passed through Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in near Lake Tahoe.

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Roenick, a nine-time NHL All-Star in his 20 seasons, carded a 3-under 69 and was quite pleased with his start.

“Everything was going well for me,” Roenick said. “I hit every second shot really well. My putter was good.”

After retiring from hockey in 2009, Roenick has been able to spend more time on his golf game.

“That’s why I’m here because I haven’t had the distraction of that (dang) National Hockey League to take away from my golf game,” Roenick said.

“It’s a nice transition to get away from the sport that you kind of create yourself for and just to get out and enjoy it.”

Wagner, the only entertainment star to win the championship, rolled in five birdies during his opening round. But it wasn’t the birdie putts that kept his solid round in tact.

“One of those rounds where sometimes the best putt is a par put or bogey putt. Today my best putt was a par putt,” Wagner said.

Wagner sank a 10-foot par putt on the 12th hole and ran in a lengthy shot with his putter for par on the 17th hole.

The addition of Roenick, Testaverde and Mulder to a leader board usually reserved for few new contenders impressed Wagner.

“That’s great,” Wagner said. “The real test usually comes (Saturday), you know. Either the guys that are playing well continue to play well or some guys that may have played over their head seem to weed themselves out.”

John Elway, Dale Jarrett and John Smoltz are among the top-20 scorers. Elway, who has yet to win the title, is tied for 10th with 20 points, Jarrett is 18th with 17 points and Smoltz shares 19th place with 16. Michael Jordan has 13 points and is tied for 28th in the 82-player field.

Charles Barkley, who resorted to playing one-handed, is last with -28 points.

Tolliver was among a few groups that finished his round before the delay. He birdied three holes on the front nine, but three bogeys minimized the two birdies he scored on the back nine. His 2-under-par round of 70 includes a 370-yard drive on the 546-yard, par-5 16th hole.

“I’ve hit 370 before, but I’ve never hit a ball that solid,” Tolliver said. “And for a guy that doesn’t have a very good golf swing, it felt pretty good.”

Tolliver believes the mammoth drive impressed NBC Sports analyst Dottie Pepper, a 17-time LPGA Tour winner who was present when the former San Diego Chargers’ QB hit the shot.

“When you get a chance, just ask Dottie Pepper who is the longest hitter she’s ever seen. It’s gotta be me,” Tolliver said.

Wagner despises being referred to as the only nonathlete to win the championship in its 21-year history.

“I get a little disturbed by that because I do pushups, chin-ups,” Wagner said. “So when they say, ‘Nonathlete,’ are they talking about me?

“I’ve done shirtless scenes where I have to do pushups. It’s very athletic. I’m on TV.”

In the unique scoring format, players are awarded six points for a eagle, three points for a birdie, one point for a par, zero points for a bogey and minus two points for a double bogey.

The thunderstorm brought little rain, but loud thunder claps and several lightning strikes out on the course. Jonathan Ogden, who played offensive line for the Baltimore Ravens for 12 seasons, became quite uncomfortable when a lightning strike hit too close for comfort while he was on the 18th hole. At 6-foot-9, Ogden is the tallest player in the field. He dropped the driver in his hands, and soon after play was halted by tournament director Mike Milthorpe.

“I saw a flash and there was a boom at the same time,” said Ogden, who shrieked, according to his caddie Aaron Roques.

Tolliver, who has been struck by lightning before, said he felt uneasy over his final four holes.

“I was as nervous as could be from 15 in,” he said.

Tolliver said he and three friends were knocked over by lightning while playing basketball on an outdoor court while he was in high school in Lubbock, Texas.

“It got on us real quick. It struck the backboard and knocked about four of us to the ground. Ever since then, I’m like, ‘Hold on a minute.” I’m a little scared.”




Yardage: 6972

Pos Player Scores

T1 Jack Wagner 26

T1 Jeremy Roenick 26

3 Billy Joe Tolliver 25

T4 Mark Mulder 24

T4 Vinny Testaverde 24

6 Dan Quinn 23

T7 Tony Romo 21

T7 Rick Rhoden 21

T7 Mark Rypien 21

T10 Jamie Langenbrunner 20

T10 John Elway 20

T10 Robbie Gould 20

T13 Trent Dilfer 19

T13 Joe Sakic 19

T15 Mike Modano 18

T15 Todd Haley 18

T15 Grant Fuhr 18

18 Dale Jarrett 17

T19 Steve Bartkowski 16

T19 John Smoltz 16

T19 Vince Coleman 16

T19 Neil Lomax 16

T19 Derek Anderson 16

T19 Troy Aikman 16

25 Joe Theismann 15

T26 Alfonso Ribeiro 14

T26 Brett Hull 14

T28 Chris Chandler 13

T28 Michael Jordan 13

T30 Kyle Boller 12

T30 Bret Saberhagen 12

T30 Oscar De La Hoya 12

T33 Oliver Hudson 11

T33 Aaron Rodgers 11

T33 Wally Szczerbiak 11

36 Jerry Rice 10

T37 Stephen Curry 9

T37 Matt Ryan 9

T39 Ken Whisenhunt 8

T39 John Lynch 8

T39 Trent Edwards 8

T42 Ozzie Smith 7

T42 Marshall Faulk 7

T44 Steve Beuerlein 6

T44 Sterling Sharpe 6

T46 Kenny Lofton 5

T46 Dan Quayle 5

T46 Ronde Barber 5

T46 Jim McMahon 5

T50 Jerome Bettis 4

T50 Steve Spurrier 4

T50 Bode Miller 4

T50 Herm Edwards 4

T50 Joe Don Rooney 4

T55 Mike Eruzione 3

T55 John O’Hurley 3

T55 Greg Maddux 3

T58 Dan Jansen 2

T58 Rodney Harrison 2

60 Jonathan Ogden 1

T61 Jason Kidd 0

T61 Michael Bolton 0

63 Aj Hawk -1

T64 Marcus Allen -2

T64 Mike Shanahan -2

T64 Brian Baumgartner -2

T67 David Wells -3

T67 Digger Phelps -3

T69 Fred McGriff -5

T69 Joe Carter -5

T69 Ray Allen -5

T72 Ray Romano -6

T72 Jared Allen -6

T72 Matt Schaub -6

T72 Stone Phillips -6

T76 Shane Battier -10

T76 Lou Holtz -10

T76 Don Cheadle -10

T79 Trent Green -14

T79 Jack Del Rio -14

81 Steven Holcomb -27

82 Charles Barkley -28