King of the lake: Mark Mulder holds off fellow pitcher Eric Gagne to win American Century Championship

Finals 17

Tahoe Onstage
Mark Mulder and caddy Kenny Overby with the American Century Championship trophy.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

Lake Tahoe’s greatest annual event came down to three buddies playing a round of golf on a Sunday afternoon. But at the very end, for the first-time winner, it became more intense than anything he’d ever experienced in his professional athletic career.

Retired Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Mark Mulder overcame a 5-point deficit on the final day to Jacksonville Jaguars placerkicker Josh Scobee to win the 26th annual American Century Championship July 19 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. Mulder and fellow MLB hurler Eric Gagne shot a score of 30 in the final frame while Scobee had 22.

Gagne, the former Los Angeles Dodger relief pitcher, proved he’s a great closer on the links as well. He was 14 points off the lead with 11 holes remaining. The Cy Young winner, who heard “Game Over” when he entered baseball games, played like the ACC was not over.

Tahoe Onstage
Emily Bailey said she came from her home in Dallas to Lake Tahoe for the chance to see Justin Timberlake.

“Gagne … lives five minutes from me in Scottsdale,” Mulder said. “I’ve known Scobee the last couple of years. Without a doubt, playing with the two of them ‑‑ not against anybody else ‑‑ but having the two of them in that group today, it was just another round. Neither one of us took it that serious but yet we’re there to win, all three of us.”

Indeed, on Edgewood’s signature, beachside 17th hole, the lead group’s trio acted as loose as the celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Charles Barkley who had no illusions about winning. Mulder offered his caddy Kenny Overby $500 if he could win a footrace to the green against the other two caddies and Gagne tossed a football and signed autographs as he strolled down the fairway.

But on No. 18 Mulder had to make a shot to win the championship.

“That putt was the most nervous I’ve seen him,” Overby said.

Back in the clubhouse, Mulder confirmed his partner’s assessment.

“People don’t understand, this isn’t what I or any of the other guys, this isn’t what we do for a living,” Mulder said. “You put me on the mound in front of a hundred thousand people and I could care less. You put me in front of a couple thousand people and it’s a different animal. I don’t think people understand that. I see guys make fun of PGA Tour players when they hit a bad shot. People don’t understand how stressful this is and how difficult this is.”

A few years ago, the American Century Championship began to use the Modified Stableford Scoring System due to the embarrassing conventional scores posted by hacks such as Barkley, Chris Webber and Lou Holtz. A double bogey or worse is only counted as minus 2 points.

Scobee tied the course record at Saturday’s second round with 33 points but his aggressive play Sunday was defeated by Mulder’s conservative strategy.

Scobee, whose life becomes more difficult this season when points-after-touchdown will be attempted from 32 yards, couldn’t hold the lead after some poor approach shots.

Tahoe Onstage
Mark Mulder is congratulated by his family after winning his first ACC title.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Mulder had just enough in the tank to complete the win.  He moved to a seemingly comfortable lead before Gagne closed ground on the 16th and 18th holes, leading to an exciting finish.

Television golf analyst Gary Koch said, We are seeing a little changing of the guard here at the American Century Championship. All four of the top finishers are guys that really haven’t contended in the past. This is new generation of guys that I think we will be seeing and winning this American Century Championship in the future.”

Perennial stars Rick Rhoden finished fifth, Jack Wagner sixth and Billy Joe Tolliver tied for 11th.

Mulder, who has a second home in the Arizona mountain town of Flagstaff, might have had an advantage because he is accustomed to playing at altitude and has played in the ACC six times. His victory was particularly sweet, he said, because he was able to compete again in a pressure situation.

“I think when you’re a professional athlete and your career’s done ‑‑ and mine the way it ended early — you don’t get to compete at a high level anymore,” Mulder said. “So just that competitiveness, you kind of miss that. And to be able to do this, whether I played good or bad, I enjoy it. And I love that nervousness. I love that feeling. I love that grind almost, the mental grind. Because that’s what it is. It’s who can stay mentally stable out there and who can control their emotions the best. And that’s what I think is the greatest part about it.”

Finals 4

Tahoe Onstage
Justin Timberlake had the largest gallery at the 2015 American Century Championship.
Tim Parsons /Tahoe Onstage

Finals 7 Finals 5

Timberlake sinks shots and melts hearts on the beach. Tim Parsons
Timberlake sinks shots and melts hearts on the beach.
Tim Parsons
Tahoe Onstage
Jacksonville Jaguars placekicker Josh Scobee had a big lead going into the final round.
Tahoe Onstage
Eric Gagne was in the hunt for the championship but he still clowned with fans on the 17th hole.
Tahoe Onstage
The caddies race down the fairway.
Tahoe Onstage
Mulder pitches out of the sand on 16.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Tahoe Onstage
The Mulders celebrate celebrity victory.

Tahoe Onstage

Pos Player Total Thru
1 MULDER, Mark 82 F
2 GAGNE, Eric 81 F
3 SCOBEE, Josh 79 F
4 FISH, Mardy 71 F
5 RHODEN, Rick 63 F
6 WAGNER, Jack 61 F
7 ELWAY, John 59 F
8 DEL NEGRO, Vinny 56 F
9 PFEIFER, Chad 55 F
10 SMOLTZ, John 54 F
T11 TOLLIVER, Billy Joe 53 F
T11 SHARPE, Sterling 53 F
T11 ALLEN, Ray 53 F
14 GORMAN, Rodney 52 F
15 MODANO, Mike 51 F
16 ROENICK, Jeremy 47 F
T17 DILFER, Trent 46 F
T17 FAULK, Marshall 46 F
19 SAKIC, Joe 45 F
20 CARTER, Joe 44 F
21 RYPIEN, Mark 42 F
T22 LOWE, Derek 40 F
T22 URLACHER, Brian 40 F
24 THEISMANN, Joe 37 F
T25 FORD, Colt 36 F
T25 COLEMAN, Vince 36 F
27 RODGERS, Aaron 35 F
28 BECKETT, Josh 34 F
T29 OSHIE, TJ 33 F
T31 MADDUX, Greg 32 F
T31 CLEMENS, Roger 32 F
33 BLAKE, James 30 F
T34 HARRISON, Rodney 29 F
T34 TIMBERLAKE, Justin 29 F
T34 BROWN, Tim 29 F
T37 TESTAVERDE, Vinny 28 F
T37 WEEDEN, Brandon 28 F
T39 WELLS, David 26 F
T39 RICE, Jerry 26 F
T39 ROONEY, Joe Don 26 F
T43 BETTIS, Jerome 25 F
T43 GLAVINE, Tom 25 F
T45 JANIKOWSKI, Sebastian 23 F
T45 RIBEIRO, Alfonso 23 F
47 MILLER, Bode 22 F
T48 EIFERT, Tyler 21 F
T48 SMITH, Alex 21 F
50 HOFFMAN, Trevor 20 F
T51 JANSEN, Dan 19 F
T51 SMITH, Ozzie 19 F
53 MILLAR, Kevin 17 F
54 MCMAHON, Jim 16 F
55 LOFTON, Kenny 14 F
T56 RODRIGUEZ, Ivan 11 F
T56 BRODEUR, Martin 11 F
58 WALTON, David 10 F
59 ALLEN, Marcus 7 F
60 BUSH, Billy 4 F
61 SMITH, J.R. 3 F
T62 CONE, David 2 F
T62 ERUZIONE, Mike 2 F
64 CORNWELL, Lisa 0 F
65 PETERSON, Patrick -1 F
66 ROBERTSON, Willie -3 F
67 BAUMGARTNER, Brian -4 F
68 BATTIER, Shane -5 F
69 HAWK, AJ -6 F
70 O’HURLEY, John -7 F
T71 MCGRIFF, Fred -8 F
T71 YOUNG, Steve -8 F
T71 RIGGLE, Rob -8 F
74 SPURRIER, Steve -9 F
T75 ALLEN, Jared -15 F
T75 ROMANO, Ray -15 F
T77 DEMARCUS, Jay -18 F
79 SMITH, Emmitt -21 F
80 KELLY, Brian -25 F
81 CHASTAIN, Brandi -28 F
T82 EDWARDS, Herm -29 F
T82 HAYSBERT, Dennis -29 F
84 WARD, Hines -35 F
T85 JONES, Andruw -36 F
T85 NEALON, Kevin -36 F
T87 GREEN, Trent -52 F
T87 THE CABLE GUY, Larry -52 F
89 BORTLES, Blake -64 F
90 BARKLEY, Charles -96 F
91 ALEXIS, Kim -98 F

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


When the Techies Took Over Tahoe @outsidemagazine

When the Techies Took Over Tahoe
Photos: Tim Parsons @TahoeOnstage

Today’s #COVID19 case update:

-- 11 cases (9,688)
-- (769) additional negative test results
-- 10 assumed recoveries (9,288)
-- 5 hosp/1 ICU
-- one additional death (109) F; 50-64; Lake Tahoe Region



« April 2021 » loading...
Sun 18

California Honeydrops

April 18 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Fri 23

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

April 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Sat 24

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

April 24 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Sun 25

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

April 25 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Fri 30

The Mother Hips

April 30 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
© 2021 All Content and Images by Tahoe Onstage