Bay Area stars Joe Pavelski and Steph Curry rise to top after first round at American Century Championship
Joe Pavelski had a 14-point back nine to take the first round lead of the American Century Championship on Friday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Stateline.
The San Jose Sharks captain finished with 25 points. He leads by one over ex-NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer. Major League Baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz and National Football League Hall of Famer Mark Rypien are at 21 points. A win on Sunday for the Sharks captain would be special.
“Being from the Bay Area, the fans I see out here, get a lot of love, and it would mean a lot, actually,” he said.
Pavelski, the 12-year NHL veteran, started on Hole 10 and made a birdie and 8 pars to finish his opening nine holes with 11 points. He went to the first hole — his 10th hole of the day — and proceeded to make three straight birdies to earn a quick nine points. After a three bogeys in four holes — No. 4, No. 5 and No. 7 — he birdie No. 8 to shoot 70 on the day.
“A lot of pars,” he said about the first nine. “And then got to the backside and got a little bit hot … felt good.”
Pavelski is in his third ACC tournament, finishing 10th in 2016 and tied for 12th in 2017.
“Yeah, point-wise it was,” he said about it being his best round at Edgewood. “But I was hitting the ball probably the best I putted, which is important out here, and just getting on these greens and had some good looks uphill and, you know, that goes a long way.”
Dilfer also shot 70 on the day. He will be looking to improve on the par 5s during today’s second round. He made pars on three of the holes. He did have a birdie on the 18th hole.
Smoltz, the hard throwing right-hander with the Atlanta Braves in the late-1990s and early 2000s, struggled on the opening nine holes. He shot a 38, coming off missing the cut at the U.S. Senior Men’s Open in late-July. He rebounded on Friday for 13 points on the back of three birdies on his back nine. He carded a 1-over par 73.
Rypien, the 2014 and 1990 champion, picked up 14 points on the final nine holes to card a 72. He made three birdies on the closing holes.
“Shots you think were going to be really receptive, now you’ve got 15-foot downhill putts,” Rypien said. “Then you become defensive on this golf course instead of trying to roll it firm and trying to make a lot of birdies. That’s why you didn’t see a lot of birdies today.”
Retired Staff Sgt. Andrew Bachelder, the two-time winner of the Warrior Open Champion, hosted by former President George W. Bush, sits in fifth position. Bachelder was injured in 2009 while serving in Iraq when a mid-air collision between the Huey helicopter that he was in with an AH-1W Cobra helicopter left him with multiple injuries.
“I’m here because of my family. My family (who) supported me when I was down, when I tried to attempt suicide, my family that stuck by my side when I wasn’t myself … But my family is the one that got me here and hopefully they’re the ones that … we’re here to shock the world. So that’s the idea. That’s our new hashtag, letsshocktheworld,” Bachelder said.
Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry is tied for eighth with 18 points.
“I hit the ball pretty well. Just gotta figure out how to putt,” he said.
The greens were fast, something multiple players struggled with.
“Just trembling over them trying not to hit them too hard,” Curry said while laughing about facing a downhill putt.
Curry is seeking to become the second active athlete to win the tournament and the first basketball player.
Three-time defending champion Mark Mulder shot a 42 on his opening nine before righting the ship on the back nine (35) finishing with eagle-birdie-birdie. He has 16 points, which puts him in 16th position. It’s the first time he has carded under 22 points in a round since 2014.
NBA Hall of Famer and crowd favorite Charles Barkley scored minus-34 points to finish the day in 92nd position. Barkley made 17 double bogeys and a bogey to card a 107.
The tournament is played on the Modified Stableford System that awards six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus-two for double bogey or worse.