Rhoden takes lead going into final round at celebrity tournament

Updated: July 12, 2008, 9:04 PM ET
Associated Press

STATELINE, Nev. -- Six-time champion Rick Rhoden was back in a familiar place Saturday in the lead at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe.

Tony Romo was glad to be in dry pants after he fell in a pond before rallying to move into second place.

[+] EnlargeRick Rhoden
AP Photo/Morry GashFormer Yankees pitcher Rick Rhoden has won six American Century Championship titles.
A new approach by Lawrence Taylor had him climbing the leaderboard. He knows it has nothing to do with his workout regimen.

"I ran one time," said Taylor, the Hall of Famer who retired 15 years ago as one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history.

"What year was that? I forgot what year it was but I didn't like it," he told reporters after he shot an even-par 72 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course to briefly take the lead in the clubhouse before Rhoden roared to the front.

Rhoden, a former pitcher, also shot a 72 to push his two-day total to 45 points in the modified Stableford scoring system that awards six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, none for bogey and minus 2 for double bogey or worse.

Romo took a spill in a pond on the first hole after losing his awkward footing on a steep bunker shot, but rebounded to shoot a 73 worth 43 points while his girlfriend, actress-singer Jessica Simpson, watched from the gallery.

Ex-hockey star Pierre Larouche was next at 41, followed by a group at 39 that included Taylor, NHL all-star Jeremy Roenick, four-time tourney champion Dan Quinn and ex-quarterback Mark Rypien, who won the inaugural event in 1990.

John Elway shot a 4-under-par 68, the best round of the day, to get into another group at 37 with actor Jack Wagner, and ex-NHL stars Brett Hull and Grant Fuhr.

Rhoden said he's looking forward to playing Sunday's final round with Romo.

"There's a lot of people following him. There's a lot of people following his girlfriend," said Rhoden, who missed a number of makable birdie putts Saturday.

"I made five birdies but it felt like I made nine because I missed so many putts," he said. "I'm leading the tournament so I guess I should be happy."

Taylor, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and two-time Super Bowl winner in 12 seasons with the New York Giants, had three birdies and was 3-under par before bogeying three of the last four holes, hitting tall pine trees on most of them.

"I used to play golf like I played football. I'm all out. If there's trees in the way, people in the way, houses in the way, I don't care. I'm still hitting it. I'm hitting it toward the green and a lot of times you never know where the ball's going to be," Taylor said.

"I told myself this year if I get in trouble, just chip out because bogeys don't hurt you. So that's what I did," he said. He admitted he got tired the last few holes.

"It's a long course to walk. I usually don't walk. I'd take a cart to the green, putting if I could," Taylor said.

Romo said he tries to use golf as a tool to put himself in situations "where hopefully you can think clearly under pressure."

"The more times you do that, for me I think will help me in football," he said, adding that it was good to have Simpson cheering him on. "She has been at more sporting events than people know."

Romo said he landed rear-end first in the pond and "got wet up to my belly button." Roenick helped fish him out.

"I rescued Tony Romo," Roenick said. "I wish it was worth five points (in the Stableford system) because then I'd be right there with 44... I think I was the difference between him getting his pants wet and his whole body wet. He was a true warrior out there today."

At the other end of the scoreboard Charles Barkley ran his two day total to minus 55. That was significantly worse than his next closest competitors, quarterbacks Trent Green at minus 40 and Jay Cutler at minus 39.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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