Scobee kick starts game
STATELINE — Josh Scobee started and ended his round with bogeys. He was golden the rest of the time.
Scobee, in just his second American Century Championship tournament, scored a record-tying 33 second-day points to grab the lead with 57 points going into today’s final round of the 26th annual event at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
Scobee’s round included six birdies, an eagle, two bogeys and nine pars. In stroke play he would have shot a 6-under-par 66. The 33 points tied the mark of Billy Joe Tolliver set back in 2010.
His birdie barrage gives him a five-point lead over Mark Mulder (52) and six over Greg Gagne (51). Former tennis star Mardy Fish scored 27 points and sits in fourth place at 49. Jack Wagner, a two-time champion, is fifth at 46 and eight-time winner Rick Rhoden is at 43. Billy Joe Tolliver (41), Mike Modano (40), John Smoltz (40) and Sterling Sharpe (38) round out the top 10.
The highlight of Scobee’s round came on the par-5 16th when he hit a 3-iron from 249 yards to 8-feet and drained the putt.
“Today was a good day for putting,” said the NFL kicker. “Honestly, getting the putter going early is what helped me. My goal was to hit greens in regulation and give myself a chance at putts. And the way I was putting, my mindset was just to get it inside 15 feet, and I was going to have a chance at making the putt. I rolled a bunch of them in today and just kept myself out of trouble for the most part.
“I made a couple of bogeys but it could have been a couple better obviously. The bogeys were just a little unforced errors. But overall it was a great day for putting. Today was a good day for putting.”
His last bogey of the day was on 18. He plunked his second shot into Lake Laimbeer.
“I had 175 in from the rough,” he said. “The ball was sitting down a hair and the wind is helping off the right. So I was trying to cut a wedge or just hold it off, but the rough grabbed my wedge and turned it over and I hit it into the water.”
Scobee’s big day puts him 27 points away from tying Tolliver’s tournament record of 84 points back in 2010.
“I didn’t know that was the record,” Scobee said. “I’m not even thinking about it, to tell you the truth. I’m going to stick to my game plan and that’s hitting greens in regulation, no three-putts and no doubles. Typically if you hit the ball well enough here and putt, then you’re going to give yourself a chance. So I’m just going to stick to my game plan.”
Mulder carded his second consecutive 26, which included four birdies, an eagle and a double-bogey.
He started slow, registering eight pars and a lone birdie (No. 4) on the front. He started strong on the back, birdieing 10 and 11 to get to 42 points. He dropped back to 40 after a double-bogey, his first of the tournament, at the par-3 12th. He birdied 16 and then concluded his round with an eagle on No. 18.
Mulder’s approach to 18 landed just a couple of feet from the hole, giving him one of the easiest eagles he’s ever made.
“It was a little up-and-down, to be honest with you,” Mulder said. “I didn’t start off that great. I then birdied 10 and 11, birdied 16 and eagled 18.
“I think I shot 69., but it didn’t feel like it, to be honest with you. The ball wasn’t coming off that good, but I made some shots when I needed to and ended the way I needed to. I three-putted 17 which I didn’t like, but for the most the points are there and I just wanted to find a way to get myself in that final group, and on 18 enabled myself to do that.”
Gagne had six birdies and just one bogey on his 29-point day which catapulted him into the final group. “It was pretty easy, pretty fun just to play with Josh who had a good round,” Gagne said.
“I had a great time today. It’s always inspiring when you see guys drop putts at every angle, so I just tried to follow up with them a little bit, just try to keep up and play good.”
Wagner was in the mix to be in the final group until he went bogey then double-bogey and then bogey. “I had a real ugly finish, but that’s part of golf,” Wagner said. “But I’ve been hitting the ball really solid. I had it two under today right around 11 or 12 or so. I birdied 14 to get it two or three under for the day, and then I just had a couple of wrecks coming in.
“The best part about this, like Josh’s round today, if you get the putter going, everybody’s long enough, but even someone like myself that hits an average ball, distance-wise, if you get the putter going, you can have a round like he (Scobee) had.”
The flat stick let Wagner down multiple times. He missed three or four putts inside 8-feet. Make half of those and he would have made the final group.
“Thanks for bringing that up,” Wagner said. “I mean, if I putted like Josh today I probably would have had a score like Josh’s, but it kind of averages out in this. I made a couple of 25-footers for birdies, and I’m not good enough to make 6-footers for birdie all the time. I think that’s part of this tournament. I was close three or four times and I didn’t know what to do. I was just sort of used to 15 feet, but again thank you for bringing that up at this point.”