Rollercoaster ride at Edgewood
STATELINE — The only thing normal at Edgewood Golf Course on Saturday was that Rick Rhoden and Dan Quinn finished in first place.
Controversy on the final hole capped an unpredictable second day at the 2002 American Century Celebrity Golf Tournament that saw six different players hold a share of the lead, two eagles, and left nothing certain going into the final day of play.
The controversy arose when Quinn, a former NHL star and the defending champion, hit an errant tee shot on the 18th hole that hit the top of a tree to the left of the fairway. After that, no one is sure on what happened.
“The problem was that we could not find the ball,” said Wayne Thronson, the rules official for the event.
Supposedly, Quinn and on-lookers saw the ball fall from the tree, but they did not know exactly where it landed. A field marshall stood over a ball which he believed was Quinn’s, but it turned out that the ball had come from the nearby driving range.
“After that, we had about 20 people looking for the ball,” Thronson said. “Shortly after when we think the ball landed, a couple kids ran across the fairway and picked a ball up. There are a lot of balls in the area due to the practice range, so he could have picked up one of those. However, with the evidence we could find from on-lookers, we’re going to assume that Dan’s ball was picked up by the kid.”
Alledgedly the kid then put the ball into his pocket and ran off through the course.
Thronson said that they had a hard time finding people who saw what had happened, and that they had hoped to use NBC’s television footage to clarify the events. Unfortunately the channel had just finished up their coverage for the day.
With the evidence they had, Thronson used the rule of equity, which allowed Quinn to play two balls- one from the area where the ball was suspected to have been, and the other from the beginning of the hole. Quinn ended up with 7 strokes and 4 strokes, respectively, on the par 5 hole. He took the birdie, which gave him a 71 for the day and an overall score of 2 under par to tie him with Rhoden.
Even though he is tied with the lead, the events on the final hole bothered Quinn.
“I’m still shaking, to be honest,” Quinn said shortly after finishing his round.
However unusual it was, Quinn’s ordeal wasn’t the only strange event of the day.
The usually steady Rhoden, who has won the tournament five times, played an up and down day. He birdied seven holes and bogied three, moving up and down the leaderboard as he went.
“I didn’t hit my irons real well today, but I putted the best I ever have here,” Rhoden said of his play.
The course has also been tougher than expected.
After Rhoden and Quinn had predicted that it would take a 10 under score to win the $500,000 tournament, they hold the lead at only 2 under par.
“You don’t see anyone tearing it up,” Rhoden said. “The wind changed three times on the front nine, and the course is playing a lot longer.”
Following Rhoden and Quinn on the leaderboard at even par are actor Jack Wagner, former football player Dick Anderson, and tennis great Ivan Ledndl, who tied Rhoden with the day’s best score at 4 under par. Former NFL quarterbacks Stan Humphries (+2), Billy Joe Tolliver (+2), Steve Batkowski (+3), and John Elway (+4) are still in contention.
Humphries had the shot of the day: an eagle on the 13th hole that he hit from 147 yards out. At the time, Humphries took over the lead at 2 under, but went 5 over par on the final 5 holes to move him back down. However, he still thinks he has a chance to win.
“I still think somebody needs to play real well tomorrow to win it,” he said. “I don’t think at two or three over pat that you’re out of it.”
Considering the event on Saturday, anything is possible.
Notes: The most popular group of the day was Michael Jordan, Ray Allen, and Mario Lemieux. Jordan finnished with an 83, the same score as yesterday. He even signed autographs for a few lucky fans before going into the club house. Allen, who was celebrating his 27th birthday, shot an 84 and said he was a little tense with the big galleries…Tim Gray missed a 15-foot putt for $1,000,000. He gets a $10,000 consolation prize…Sacramento King stars Chris Webber and Mike Bibby are the last two players on the leaderboard. Webber, who impoved on his all-time tournament worst score of 143 by 21 strokes, is now 122 over par for the two days. Bibby is only slightly better, as he is 113 over par.
Quote of the day: “He played like me today.”
-Charles Barkley, who is currently 58 strokes over par, when asked about his friend Tiger Woods.