Mardy Fish breaks Edgewood course record, wrestles lead away from Williams at ACC

Mardy Fish says his aggressive strategy of hitting driver off the tee and going from there is paying off.

STATELINE, Nev. — Mardy Fish bogeyed the first hole Saturday then proceeded to break the Edgewood Tahoe course record and take the lead heading into the final round at the American Century Championship.

Fish made 10 birdies and shot a 9-under par, 63, breaking the record of 64 set by Hall of Famer Lee Tevino in the mid to late 1980s. In the process the former star tennis player wrestled first place away from first round leader, former NFL Pro Bowl lineman Kyle Williams.

Fish scored 37 points in the modified Stableford scoring system, the most ever in a single round at the ACC. The previous high was 33 set by three players. 

Fish said it was his most memorable round and compared it only to when he played nine holes about two years ago with the “Golden Bear” Jack Nicklaus. He said he shot 29 at Nicklaus’ own course and that the great one came away impressed.

“It was a dream day for sure,” said Fish moments after finishing the round with five straight birdies. “I’ve been looking for one of these out here. I didn’t score well yesterday. My new strategy of hitting driver and figuring it out from there is working out.”

He said he knows he can finish in the top five by playing it safe, but he said he hits his driver as straight as any club he has, so “why not?”

Fish needed almost all of his record-breaking points to jump ahead of Williams who put together an even better round than Friday when he led by five points. Fish has 55 points (18-37) and Williams has 52 (25-27).

“I put together a 37-pointer and I can’t get away from him,” Fish said.

Williams had an up and down day with six bogeys, five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole.

“I wish I hadn’t made the bogeys after birdies, but we’ll see if we can get that ironed out,” Williams said. “I feel good. The biggest jump for me has been on the greens. I have a good feel for them now.”

Fish and Williams have made it a two-man race for the title and are far ahead of the rest of the 71-player field.

John Smoltz made pars all day and pulled into third place with 37 points, 15 behind Williams and 18 in back of Fish.

Two-time champion Tony Romo is in a three-way tie for fourth with Dell Curry and Derek Lowe.

Romo appeared to injure his left wrist late in the round. He put a white homemade wrap around it for the last few holes and still finished strong.

Carson Palmer and three-time champ Mark Mulder are tied for seventh, Vinny Del Negro is ninth and Case Keenum rounds out the top 10. Stephen Curry is 11th with 30 points.

Williams knows if Fish puts together another round like Saturday, he will be tough to beat on Sunday.

“If he makes 10 more birdies, we’re all gonna have a good time cheering him on,” Williams said. “He’s gonna be tough to beat. But all you want is that opportunity on Sunday.”

Correction: The course record according to the Northern California Golf Association was 64. This story has been updated to reflect that.

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