Del Negro beats Smoltz in playoff to claim celebrity golf title

Staff Report
Vinny Del Negro celebrates after making a birdie putt to win the playoff. (Laney Griffo / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Vinny Del Negro beat John Smoltz on Sunday in a playoff at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament.

Del Negro, the 54-year-old former NBA player and coach, birdied No. 18 at the end of regulation to force a playoff and then birdied it again to become the oldest winner and first basketball player to take home the trophy in the event’s 32 years.

Del Negro, making his 20th appearance, had 20 points in the final round of the modified Stableford event and closed with a three-day total of 69. Smoltz scored 18 points in the final round.

Del Negro had two birdies and two bogeys for an even-par 72. Smoltz had four birdies and eight bogeys in his round of 76.

On the extra hole, the par-5 18th, Del Negro placed his drive in the middle of the fairway, about 155 yards from the green.

Smoltz followed with a low line drive that landed behind trees in the right rough. The 54-year-old Hall of Fame pitcher tried to hit a shot over trees with an 8-iron from 200 yards, but smacked a limb and hit his third into the water left of the green.

Del Negro wins $125,000 for first place.

Tony Romo finished third with 66 points and World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam finished fourth with 64 points.

Charles Barkley tied for 76th at minus-28.

Vinny Del Negro smooches his championship trophy. (Laney Griffo / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

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