Rhoden par-tees with fourth win
Tiger Woods only needed one victory in the Masters to provoke talk of modifying Augusta National. Rick Rhoden won his fourth Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship in record-tying fashion Sunday, but Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course remains the same for him – vulnerable.
Rhoden carded a 2-under-par 70 to equal his 1995 record-setting total of 9-under 207. The former major-league pitcher never led by less than two strokes in beating former Niners quarterback John Brodie and retired NHL player Dan Quinn by three shots.
“This is the best I’ve played from tee to green. I don’t think I could play much better for three days,” said Rhoden, who earned $100,000 to increase his career celebrity championship winnings to $395,000.
“I felt comfortable the whole day. I tried to start out like I was playing with my buddies and forget about what they shot. I had the lead, and I figured if I shot a good round I would win.”
Oddly, Rhoden’s four wins at Egdewood have come on odd-numbered years.
“Boy, I don’t know why that it is,” Rhoden said. “This is a tournament that we all love to come to. If you don’t love to come to this place, you’ve got a real problem.”
Rhoden, 44, led by as many as four shots on the front nine, but 32-year-old solid ball striker Quinn pulled to within two strokes by rolling in a 10-foot birdie on No. 10. Moments after Quinn sank his birdie, Rhoden missed a three-foot birdie attempt.
But Rhoden didn’t let the missed opportunity unravel his round. He came right back to birdie the 11th hole for the third successive day, draining a tricky sidehill putt from 16 feet to restore his three-shot bulge.
“It was big. If he happened to three-putt that one, which it wasn’t an easy putt, Danny might have birdied his (and pulled even),” said Brodie, who shot an opening-round 67 to lead Tampa Bay quarterback Trent Dilfer by a stroke.
Added Rhoden, “That putt was big for my psyche because I missed that little on on 10.”
Dilfer, actor Jack Wagner and Baltimore Ravens tight end Brian Kinchen tied for fourth, six strokes behind Rhoden.
Meanwhile, Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley made some fans think of winter as he almost took a double snowman on the par-4 11th hole. Barkley dunked four balls in the water before eventually holing out on his 15th shot. The 1993 NBA MVP shot 102 for the day and finished next to last at 294.
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