The most exciting action during the American Century Championship’s second round on Saturday was at the 17th hole:
- A Broncos fans since 1974, Brenda Service slipped under the rope line and made an open field interception of John Elway, who signed her hat.
- Jason Ward leaped from the top of the Big Eighties waterski boat to catch a long football pass from Steph Curry before splashing into Lake Tahoe.
- Justin Timberlake threw a well-timed alley oop to Curry for a slam dunk.
And regarding the golf, two-time defending champion Mark Mulder was consistent and composed all day and pulled to a three-point lead over Derek Lowe and Mardy Fish, who both faltered on the final holes.
If Mulder closes it out Sunday, he will be the first golfer to win the 28-year tournament three-straight times at Tahoe Edgewood Golf Course. He appears to have the composure to do just that.
“Do (I) feel the pressure? I don’t,” Mulder said. “I get it more from my kids. My three kids said to me, ‘Dad, when do we get to go to the golf tournament where we get to run out on the green at the end?’ ”
Mulder’s children also were on the green at 17, where thousands reveled on Lake Tahoe’s thin strip of beach and on boats in the water. Music blared from four giant speakers and fans drank and tossed footballs to the competitors, whose groups were backed up due to all the reverie. The former Oakland A’s ace got into the fun, lifting his small children as they shot hoops at the basket set up next to the tee. When it was finally time again for golf, Mulder remained rock solid.
“I have so much adrenaline on 17 with all the people and the music, I feel like I could hit a wedge from 200 yards,” he said. “I mean, that’s how much adrenaline is going through my body at the time. So it’s kind of hard to control that. And it’s taking me a few years to get used to that.”
But the pressure seemed to effect Fish, the tennis star, and Lowe, the long driving ex-big league pitcher who led after the first round.
Lowe’s trouble began when his tee shot on 13 hooked into the woods. Fortuitously, his ball bounced off a tree and into the middle of the fairway. However, the poor shot was like a shortstop making an error behind the pitcher. Lowe’s momentum began to go in the opposite direction. On the next hole he was penalized two points for an illegal drop.
Fish let the last three holes get away.
“I missed three putts inside five feet, all for birdie, 16, 17, 18,” Fish said. “So, you know, that’s where we are.”
On the surface, Fish kept a lightheartedness. It’s hard to imagine he wasn’t burning on the inside.
“Competitiveness is what most of us do and we don’t get to do anymore,” he said. “And so this is what gets our competitive juices going. It’s getting a little boring that Mark’s winning everything. So we’ll try to change that narrative tomorrow.”
- American Century Championship
Tahoe Edgewood Golf Course
Leaderboard after two rounds
- 1 – Mark Mulder, 48
2t – Derek Lowe, 45
2t – Mardy Fish, 45
4 – Chad Pheifer, 42
5 – John Smoltz, 41
6t – Joe Pavelski, 38
6t – Aaron Rodgers, 38
6t – Marshall Faulk, 38
9 – Blair O’Neal, 37
10 –John Elway, 34
11t – Mike Modano, 33
11t – Brett Saberhagen
13t – Steph Curry, 32
13t – Sterling Sharpe, 32
13t – Mark Rypien, 32