Elway disappointed by 10th-place showing | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Elway disappointed by 10th-place showing

John Elway has grown accustomed to playing for championships. However, with the American Century Golf Championship out of reach on Sunday, Elway lost all motivation.

The retired Broncos quarterback again struggled with his short game, firing a 5-over-par 77 to finish 10th in the $500,000 championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

“I don’t like playing for 10th place when I don’t have a chance to finish first,” said Elway, whose final round included seven bogeys and two birdies and left him at 12-over-par 228 for 54 holes.

Retired major league pitcher Rick Rhoden won for the fifth time in the the tournament’s 10-year history. His final-round 68 gave him a nine-stroke victory over Saints quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver and retired hockey player Dan Quinn.

Quinn, who played in the next-to-last threesome with Elway, noticed his friend’s drop-off in play.

“John plays to win, and when he realizes he can’t win his concentration dips a little bit, which all of us do,” Quinn said. “He played so well the first day in tough conditions, and then Saturday he just didn’t get off to a good start and then didn’t keep himself into it.”

Elway started the final 18 holes seven shots behind Rhoden, and a first-hole bogey set the tone for an up-and-down round.

“Something got to me. I just didn’t play well. I scratched it around today. It’s disappointing,” said Elway, who tied Rhoden for fourth place in 1998.

One hole emphasized Elway’s chipping and putting woes. He was just over the green with his second shot on the par-5, 537-yard fourth hole. However, he chipped into a sand trap and left his bunker shot 15 feet from the pin. Elway two-putted for bogey.

One hole later, Elway was again long of the green and wedged his second shot 12 feet past the pin. He two-putted for a bogey four to drop to 11 over.

“I was really poor with my short game. For these conditions your short game has to be in shape. I really played bad yesterday and could never really get it back,” Elway said.

Elway scored two birdies on the back nine, including a 25-foot downhill putt on No. 15, but bogeys on 16 and 17 sent him to his worst performance since a 229 total in 1991.

“I play for six months and then quit for six months. I’ve always had to try and catch up, so I need to be a little more consistent and play throughout the whole year. Hopefully it helps my short game,” Elway said.

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