Odd thing happens- Rhoden doesn’t win
Something odd happened to Rick Rhoden – he didn’t win his seventh American Century Celebrity Golf Championship this weekend at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
The former Major League pitcher was the reigning “odd-year champion” coming into the 2001 event.
And although he held the lead after the first day and was tied after the second round, Rhoden couldn’t make up the one stroke that separated him and 1992 champion Dan Quinn heading into the final hole of the 54-hole tournament.
“Maybe we can start an even-year streak next year,” Rhoden said, when asked about his streak ending.
Quinn was at 7-under par and Rhoden was 6 under when the former NHL center stuck his second shot, a 9-iron, to within 12 feet, setting up an eagle chance.
Rhoden put his second stroke just on the fringe at the back of the green and knew an eagle was his only chance at keeping his streak alive.
“At No. 18, I just wanted to get my first drive in play. If I got it in the fairway, I knew I could reach it in two,” the 1991, ’93, ’95, ’97, ’99 champion said. “Then it was a matter of what Danny did.
“If he hit a drive right, which is real easy to do there, you have to lay it out. If you lay it out with a lead and I get a birdie, it would be tight.
“He walked up and hit the best drive he had all day. At that point I knew I needed an eagle.”
His fears were compounded with Quinn’s fantastic approach shot.
“My ball was in a divot and I hit a pretty good shot with the lie I had,” Rhoden said. “I believe in my heart that I would have got that up and down if I just needed a birdie, but I wasn’t going to leave that one short. As you notice I hit a long ways by, so I took a club I knew that was going to get there.
“As soon as I hit, I knew it was either going in for an eagle or it’d set up a birdie putt.”
Rhoden’s putting was off all day as he two- or three-putted almost every green, which allowed Quinn to pull away. At one point, the former Pittsburgh Penguin was three shots ahead of Rhoden.
“I hit the first eight greens and never had a long putt for par,” Quinn said. “I made two birdies and never put myself in any trouble.
“I just lost my concentration, started talking to (Mark) Rolfing walking up the ninth fairway and relaxed with Rick just making a bogey to give me a three-stroke lead. I hadn’t really missed an iron, but I made a bad chip and Rick let me off the hook and made a bogey as well.”
Every time Quinn opened the door for a potential comeback by Rhoden, the five-champion didn’t seize the moment and pick up a stroke.
Rhoden birdied No. 10 to pull within one and then momentarily pulled even with Quinn on the 11th when Quinn three-putted for a double bogey.
The deadlock at -7 didn’t last very long however as Rhoden bogeyed the next hole, while Quinn parred and never looked back.
“After that I didn’t miss a club face,” Quinn said.
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