ACC Notebook: A QB or pitcher could win again

Pro golfer Blair O'Neal acknowledges the crowd after a beautiful putt on the 16th green Saturday.

Pro golfer Blair O'Neal acknowledges the crowd after a beautiful putt on the 16th green Saturday.

STATELINE — When you look down the list of winners of the American Century Championship, it’s dotted with quarterbacks and pitchers.

Those two groups have accounted for 17 wins. Pitchers have 10 of those, eight by Rick Rhoden and two by Mark Mulder. Quarterbacks have seven victories, four by Billy Joe Tolliver, two by Mark Rypien and one by Chris Chandler.

With Mulder and Derek Lowe near the top of the leaderboard after 36 holes at the ACC, that number could change come today about 4 p.m.

“Nothing can happen until you throw the pitch or you pull the club back,” Mulder said at a recent press conference. “To be a starting pitcher and have to repeat your delivery over and over, it’s just like repeating a golf swing. A hitter can get a hit with a bad swing. You’re not going to really throw a good pitch with a bad delivery or hit a golf ball with a bad swing and be successful at it.

“Quarterbacks obviously are mentally very tough. And I think that’s what you need out here. You can’t doubt yourself out there because when you do that’s when you hit a bad shot. That’s when things for me started to unravel the first couple of years I played in this tournament, because I wasn’t confident with it. I had never played in front of people. I never really played competitive golf like this.”


The three-way battle for the top female finisher between Lisa Cornwell, Blair O’Neal and Paige Spiranac continued Saturday.

O’Neal followed up her 18 on Friday with a 19 on Saturday. She has a 10-point lead over Spiranac and Cornwell.

Cornwell struggled early, registering back-to-back double bogeys. She did register two birdies on her back nine to finish with nine points.

Spiranac had eight pars and a birdie for 11 points. She had 16 on Friday.


Steph Curry came to the 28th annual American Century Championship hoping he wouldn’t have to take the plunge.

The plunge as in polar plunge. That’s the bet between Steph and his dad, Dell, this week. The loser has to take a plunge, in golf attire, after today’s final round.

Entering the final day of the tournament, Steph has a 6-point lead over his dad.

No doubt the bet was a result of Dell’s one-point win over his son at last year’s event.

“I hope to win,” Curry said earlier this week. “Obviously we have a little bit of fun. I see the lake is at a very, very healthy level, and so whoever loses has to take a polar plunge into the lake before we head back to the Bay (Area) after Sunday’s round. So I hope that’s not me.

“And so to be in this situation and I’m always going to be aware of what his score is and things like that. It’s going to be fun.”


Charles Barkley had a great tee shot on the uphill par-3 12.

His tee shot hit the tree and bounced back onto the green, ending up about 12 feet from the hole. He sank the putt, collecting his only birdie in the tournament.

He’s at minus-57 and is one shot behind Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who’s at 56.


While Mulder is challenging for the lead, Mark Rypien and Jack Wagner, both two-time winners, are well back in the pack.

Rypien, after an 18-point day, sits at 32. Wagner followed up his 13 on Friday with a 15 for a two-day total of 28.


Earlier this week, Whittell High’s Nic Buchholz was named the winner of the Gene Upshaw Scholarship.

The $5,000 scholarship is given each year to a Whittell High student. It’s named after the former Oakland Raider great, who died of pancreatic cancer.

Buchholz, who has a 4.05 GPA, has participated in football and golf at Whittell. He plans to attend the University of Nevada.


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