Tony Romo rallies to win American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe
After nearly a decade of playing at the American Century Championship, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo captured his first tournament win, edging three-time champion Mark Mulder by three points after Sunday’s final round at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
Romo, who rallied back from a four-point deficit to finish with 71 points, called this year’s championship “a special win.”
“Just the people that are involved. I think once you’ve been here as long as a few of us have you meet a lot of people,” said the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
“And you get to know everybody. So it feels like you’re playing a tournament back home because it’s the people that you know over and over again.
“So, to me, that’s the specialness of it. And then having your family out, my wife here, my parents. My sister just had a baby last night.”
Heading into the par-4 15th hole Mulder looked to have an opportunity to tighten his grip on a fourth title after his approach left him with a short putt for birdie, which he later sank. Romo, who was roughly 15 feet out, matched Mulder for birdie, draining the lengthy putt before following through with a signature fist pump.
“Fifteen was big … I was pretty aggressive with the stroke and the speed,” said Romo. “It felt like I had to make it, so when it went in, there was obviously a surge of adrenaline. That was the biggest putt I made all day.”
From there, Romo would birdie the par-5 16th hole; while Mulder settled for bogey after he missed the fairway, and then hit a tree with his second shot.
“I tried to probably make a little too much out of that shot. Looking back at it, should have just tried to lay something up and hit something close and give myself a birdie putt,” said Mulder.
The three-time defending champion’s struggles continued on the next hole with a shot that landed on the beach, leading to a double bogey of the par-3 17th.
“This game is hard. And people don’t realize how hard it is playing in this tournament, especially when you’re in one of those last few groups,” said Mulder.
The third member of the lead group, San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, kept things interesting down the stretch, matching Romo with a par on the 17th hole. Pavelski would then reach the green on the par-5 18th hole, setting up an eagle opportunity to force a playoff, as Romo chose to lay up.
“It didn’t go in, but it was fun,” said Pavelski on the eagle putt. “I had a blast. Learned a ton about my golf game and this kind of situation and just really enjoyed the whole week.”
Romo would later tap in for par and a high score of 71 points. As an amateur his first-place purse of $125,00 will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.
Mulder would finish second with 68 points, after Pavelski three-putted on the final hole to fall into a tie with former NBA player Ray Allen at 66 points.
Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points. NBA Hall of Fame forward and staple of the tournament, Charles Barkley, swung the club during the weekend without his infamous hitch, but still struggled, finishing in last place with -93 points.
This year’s tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, according to a release, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.