Wagner finishes fourth at Edgewood | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Wagner finishes fourth at Edgewood

Michael Traum

Ask television star Jack Wagner what was on his mind when he began the final round of the Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship.

Getting off the tee, hitting it close, making key putts?

“I was thinking about what I was going to have for breakfast,” said the always smug star of “Melrose Place.”

As it turns out, Wagner did need to think a bit more about his putts, as he missed at least a half dozen 12- to 15-footers to finish with an even-par 72 and tied for fourth place with a three-day total of 213 – six behind four-time champ Rick Rhoden.

Still, it was Wagner’s best-ever finish at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course event. He topped a previous best of one-under and led the list of other television stars in the field, including Maury Povich, Matt Lauer and Bryant Gumbel.

“I was pretty loose and I felt good. All I can do is do good things. If I did bad things, I’d just lose ground on the pack,” said Wagner, who began the day the same as he finished. “I hit a lot of greens. It was one of those days where it was around the hole but just didn’t go in. Everybody gets frustrated, you’ve just got to keep banging.”

Despite not achieving the desired results with his game, Wagner, who was fitted with a portable microphone by NBC Sports on the 10th tee, constantly played to the crowd.

On the 15th green, Wagner, while surveying an eight-foot birdie putt, encouraged the crowd to offer up more than “just a golf clap when this one goes in.” But in step with the rest of his round, and like many of the players on the day, his effort didn’t catch the cup.

Still, the consummate showman remained upbeat, finishing his round by tossing his ball into the stands backing the 18th green.

“I enjoy having the people around. It helps me push and it’s more incentive to do well,” he said.

NOTES

Tie for Isuzu Cup: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Trent Dilfer buried an eight footer for birdie on the final hole to match Baltimore Ravens tight end Brian Kinchen at three-under for the tournament. The two will share the 1997 Isuzu Cup, an award for the best finish by a currently active athlete. Tournament directors were scrambling as Dilfer was marching down the 18th fairway, as there had been no rule stipulated in case of a Isuzu Cup tie. As Dilfer putted out, officials decided to double the prize money, awarding each player $10,000 and letting them share the title. Players ultimately donate the money to charity.

Edgewood satisfied with event: Head professional Paul Martin said he was pleased with every facet of the 8th annual Isuzu CGA tournament. “It was just an outstanding weekend. The weather was fantastic, it couldn’t have been better. We had good crowds and great fans. And the greens were the best I’ve ever seen them. Nine hours of national television coverage highlighting Tahoe and the area – this is a great tournament for us and the area.”

Hall of Famer posts best Tahoe round: Former Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt carded rounds of 74-71-72 to finish tied for eighth place at 217. Schmidt, who was recently selected as the best third baseman of all time in a writer’s poll, said although it was his best Tahoe finish, he thought he could’ve played better. “I have so many ups and downs in my round. I got up and down from the freaking parking lot on one hole, then birdied the next hole, then topped it off the tee on the next tee. It’s an emotional swing for me all the way around. There’s no consistency. It’s just from metabolism, intensity and wanting to be too perfect. I haven’t got the experience to just turn it loose and relax, you know?”

Last year’s champ cards disappointing weekend: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver went 71-75-77 to finish tied for 17th place with actor Adam Baldwin. After winning the 1996 event with a five-under 211, Tolliver’s blade game deserted him this year. “I didn’t defend my title very well. The first day we played pretty good but then we just couldn’t get anything going with the putter. The strongest part of my game became the weakest part. I had over a 100 putts. You can’t play with that.” Tolliver will now turn his attention to football, returning home the Shreveport, La., for about a week before heading to the Falcons’ training camp in mid-July. He said he doesn’t expect to play stick again until after the season.

Chris Chandler wins Taylor-Made long drive contest: After leading-off with a drive of 301 yards, San Francisco 49ers receiver Jerry Rice had to watch as 13 other long hitters took a shot at the 1997 long-drive title. Carlton Fisk edged Rice by one yard but was soon surpassed by Brian Kinchen, who crushed one 315 yards down the center of Edgewood’s No. 1 hole. Hitting third to last, Bill Laimbeer next took the lead with a 324-yard spank. But Atlanta Falcons QB Chris Chandler wasn’t going to be outdone, as he nailed a 346-yard whopper to win the title.

Local gains great experience: South Lake Tahoe resident Dave Huber, after winning an auction to play in Thursday’s celeb-am best-ball event, said playing with Colorado Buffaloes head coach Rick Neuheisel was something he’ll remember for a long time. The group of four, including Mark Macintosh and Mel Wolf, finished in eighth place. “Talk about a great time. It was just an awesome experience and wonderful event for the community,” said Huber, who caddied for former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz in Sunday’s final round.

John Brodie, who won the Senior PGA Tour’s Security Pacific tournament in 1991, emphasized how important golf is in his life.

“My day is past, but I think the most important thing in my life is that I play golf. I intend to actually grow old playing golf, and I’m not sure if I would have grown old if there hadn’t been golf,” said the 61-year-old former NFL star.

No one was more surprised than Danny Ainge with his first-round 73.

The Phoenix Suns first-year coach was on the leader board throughout the day in shooting his career-best celebrity round Friday.

“I find myself as a coach concentrating on a lot of other things, so my golf game suffers from a mental standpoint. It’s hard to get away from it because I’m always thinking about the players and the game,” Ainge said.

Ainge must have thought harder about his full-time job on Saturday and Sunday as he slipped to rounds of 79 and 80 to finish in a tie for 33rd.

Three-time U.S. Open tennis champion Ivan Lendl, who tied Ainge for 33rd, revealed what he thinks is wrong with tennis today:

“What is lacking is control from the governing bodies to control the speed of the game,” Lendl said. “I think the serving part is too overpowering. They’ve got to do something about the speed of the ball in the court, so there are more rallies.


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