Quinn is first celebrity to repeat
Dan Quinn did something on Sunday that five-time winner Rick Rhoden has never done in the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship — repeat as champion.
The 37-year-old former NHL center pulled away from Rhoden by birdieing four of the first five holes to win his third championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
“To me it meant a lot and I’m proud of the way I handled it,” said Quinn, who is the 13-year-old event’s first repeat champion. “It means a lot to me because when I won in ’92 it took me a bunch of years to win again. This year, I did a lot of media hype and everybody just sort of brought it up, so I just really tried to focus on it.”
However, in the first round on Friday, Quinn stopped concentrating on a repeat title because he quickly found himself 3-over-par. But from that point through the fifth hole Sunday, Quinn was “The Man,” dropping birdie after birdie to lower his total score to 6-under-par.
Quinn, who led by as many as six shots during the round, used a safe and conservative approach on the final hole to secure a two-shot win over Rhoden. Leading by three strokes, Quinn kept his bravado in the bag and hit a 3-iron off the tee on the 501-yard finishing hole.
“I wanted to hit driver and finish strong, but I just said, ‘This is stupid,’ ” Quinn said. “If I hit 3-iron into the fairway, I can’t make a bogey, and even if made a bogey, Rick would have to make an eagle for me to go to a playoff.”
After his 3-iron tee shot found the fairway, Quinn hit a 6-iron short of the pond and then punched a 60-degree wedge to the right side of the degree. He two-putted from 25 feet to finish with his third successive 1-under 71 for a 3-under 213 total.
Rhoden nearly chipped in from 25 feet for eagle and made birdie, but Quinn could have three-putted the final green and still won.
Quinn indicated he will donate $10,000 of his $100,000 first prize to the Uniformed Firefighters Association Scholarship Fund.
“I tip my hat to them, and it was great to have them as a part of this event,” Quinn said.
Tiger Woods may not know it, but he let Quinn down on Saturday. Woods, who closed with a 6-under 65 in the British Open on Sunday, shot his highest round as a professional — an 81 — on Saturday to lose any chance of winning the third leg of the Grand Slam.
“That 2-1 thing on me wasn’t any good, but I did take Tiger and me at 5-1,” said Quinn, who needed both Tiger and he to win this weekend to win the prop bet he made at Caesars Tahoe.
Rhoden lost any chance of winning a sixth championship by bogeying three of the first four holes. He got within three strokes with five holes to play, but missed a 1-foot par putt on No. 14 to stall his charge.
“The killer was 14, that really hurt,” Rhoden said. “I didn’t want him to get to 18 where he could hit iron off the tee. If he’d got there in a little different situation, maybe only one ahead, he would have played the hole a little different, especially after I hit a good drive.
“But he had a three-shot lead. He’s not going to screw that up.”
Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver came in third at even-par 216 after firing the best round of the day, a 70.
“I had to make some noise early and hope he didn’t,” said Tolliver, who got as close as two shots from Quinn. “You know those first four holes you have a chance to do something. I started off and got a few birdies early and you get over to No. 5 and you look up (at the scoreboard) and he does the same thing you did, and you’re still where you started the day off.”
Tolliver had six birdie attempts of 15 feet or less on the final nine but couldn’t get a single putt to drop.
“I had a lot of chances to at least apply a little pressure on him and didn’t get anything to fall,” Tolliver said. “He’s too good of a player — if you can’t apply any heat on him, he’s not going to make any mistakes. He didn’t need to be aggressive with anything.”
Actor Jack Wagner and former NFL and Cal quarterback Steve Bartkowksi tied for fourth at 2-over 218.
Sacramento Kings point guard Mike Bibby enjoyed his best round of the tournament, firing a 117. Teammate Chris Webber wasn’t as fortunate, shooting a 70-over 142, nearly eclipsing the record score of 143 he set on Friday.
Ten-time NBA scoring champion Michael Jordan closed with his worst score — an 84 for a 250 total — leaving him only one stroke better than skier Bode Miller. Miller won two silver medals at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.