STATELINE - The American Century Championship got its unofficial start on Monday when Al Del Greco and Brian Kinchen played a practice round at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
The two former NFL players were the first celebrities to arrive at Edgewood, both direct from Denver where they played in the John Elway Celebrity Classic. Del Greco tied for second with Vinnie Del Negro (another ACC participant), while Kinchen finished 10th.
Both Del Greco and Kinchen have a long history at the event. Del Greco has played in the past 13 editions of the tournament and won it in 2000. Kinchen has played eight times, claiming four top-10 finishes and coming in fourth in 1997 and 2001.
"This is the marquee event of the celebrity tour," Kinchen said. "I've won a couple of other events, but a win out here really solidifies you as legitimate."
Del Greco, a top performer on the celebrity golf circuit, said coming to the South Shore from Denver without a stopover at his home in Birmingham, Ala., was a no-brainer.
"I can certainly think of worse places to spend an extra day or two," he said. "This is where it all started and it's always the biggest stop on the tour."
After his success in Denver, Del Greco expects to be in the running for the ACC trophy.
"I feel really good about the way I'm playing right now," he said. "I'm struggling a little bit with my putting at times, but I certainly consider myself to be one of the top players."
Kinchen hasn't played the tournament since 2001 but has been successful on the celebrity tour, winning one tournament this season with several top-10 finishes.
"After two years off, this (tournament) seems even bigger to me," he said. "The course is an inspiring place and I really want to justify the invitation to play."
Action will offically start today with the Lake Tahoe Celeb-Am tournament. Wednesday will see the Caesars Celeb-Am tournament, with the American Century Celeb-Am tournament slated for Thursday along with official practice rounds. The American Century Classic will begin on Friday and continue through Sunday.
Tickets are $10 for today's practice round.