Defending ACC champ Fish plans to be aggressive in title defense

STATELINE, Nev. — Mardy Fish is back to defend his American Century Championship title and plans to again let the big dog eat.

Fish, USTA Davis Cup Captain and former top ranked American, enjoyed huge success last year when he decided to just let it rip off the tee.

He set the Edgewood Tahoe Golf course record during the second round on Saturday and basically buried the field. He made 10 birdies and shot a 9-under par, 63, breaking the record of 64 set by Hall of Famer Lee Trevino in the mid to late 1980s.

It was his best round ever and he used his driver more than ever.

“Last year I played the golf course much differently than I had in previous years,” Fish said Wednesday during a press conference after playing in a Celeb-Am event. “I was pretty passive with my tee shots in years prior and taking out driver and just understanding that I hit my driver as straight as I do my driving iron. Maybe even straighter at times. It didn’t make much sense to leave that in the bag so I’ll probably do that same thing. I kind of had the mindset last year of just trying to make a birdie on every hole.

“The course is kind of what it is, it’s pretty short because of the altitude,” Fish continued. “It’s not necessarily easy. It’s just pretty short. So if you drive the ball straight, you wedge it pretty well, you can have a lot of chances. And last year, that Saturday, I took advantage of most of them.”

Fish has 2-1 odds to repeat, slightly behind tournament favorite Tony Romo who won in 2018 and 2019. Romo was in the mix last year but withdrew due to a wrist injury.

Aside from being short, those Edgewood greens are slick and tricky and three-putts add up real quick.

“Every year you come back, you get more and more familiar with the greens and the speed,” Fish said. “That’s really where they kind of kill you out here is those 3-putts. I didn’t have very many of those last year and hope to minimize those too this year.”

Fish is looking forward to seeing old friends, meeting new ones and seeing if Charles Barkley really has improved his swing. He also wouldn’t mind being paired with LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam and thinks he would drive her nuts with questions.

“It’s pretty special (her being here). I would love to be paired with her. A couple of weeks ago they were in Europe but I tried to set up a round of golf here with her. She declined, said I wasn’t good enough to play,” Fish joked. “But they were doing something and couldn’t do it. It didn’t work out. Just wanted to pick her brain. I would be super annoying for her because I would just ask her a bunch of questions. She’s the greatest female player of all time. And it’s awesome to have her in the tournament.”

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