Mardy Fish wins first American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament
Sometimes the Fish catches the trophy.
Mardy Fish rode a stellar day Saturday to another solid round Sunday and captured his first title in the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood-Tahoe. He has won twice at celebrity tournaments in Florida.
Fish scored a tournament-record 37 points on Saturday, then added 21 on Sunday to finish with 76 points. First-round leader Kyle Williams ended in second place with 67 points, scoring 15 on Sunday. John Smoltz was third with 58 points and Steph Curry was fourth with 56.
Fish had five straight top-five finishes at Edgewood before this year.
“I’ve wanted to play well here for a long time. It just doesn’t suit my eye very well. So I haven’t put it all together. And thankfully I put it all together yesterday, because it wasn’t today and it wasn’t Friday,” Fish said.
Fish said the absence of spectators was not a factor this year at Edgewood.
“I focus in pretty good anyways. I’ve played a lot of matches in Davis Cup formats for the U.S. in some pretty hostile places, Colombia and Switzerland, and all over the place. And they’ll yell in your overhand and yell in your serve. So I’m used to that kind of stuff,” he said.
The purse of $600,000 will be donated to Lake Tahoe groups and various COVID-19 charities. Fish would have won $125,000 and Williams $60,000.
Williams, who played for the Buffalo Bills, said his putts wouldn’t fall on Sunday. He had one birdie on Sunday.
This was his second time playing at Edgewood.
“I knew if I only made one birdie today it wasn’t going to get it done,” Williams said. “But I played pretty solid. To shoot what I have over the last three days, I’m not going to complain about it. Had a great week and looking forward to more.”He said nerves were not a factor Sunday.
“Just, sometimes with us being ex-professionals or professionals at something else, we’re not going to hit the ball the way the professionals do or we’re not going to roll the ball the way they do,” Williams said. “As competitive as we are and think we ought to, it just doesn’t work out that way.
“The more reps you get, the more comfortable; good things are ahead. Like I said, finishing second, I’m so happy for Mardy. I don’t like that he did it at my expense, but at the same time I’m really happy for him.”
Williams said even if there was prize money, he would not have accepted it, because he is an amateur and because there are better uses for it
“With everything that’s going on in our country right now, there are better places for that money to be allocated than to us who get to come out here and spend a great week in this setting, at this tournament, enjoying old friends, new friends, all that,” he said.
Smoltz was a little frustrated after Saturday’s round when he scored 17 points.
But he was much happier Sunday.
“My biggest thing is I can’t believe how good I hit it and how poorly I scored,” Smoltz said. “I didn’t 3-putt all week. I only made three bogeys all week, and yet the birdies just didn’t fall. So 16 tries at birdie today and I only made two of them.
“And that’s the difference. I mean, you play this golf course, I striped it pretty much all day, except for one hole … I had a lot of chances to change the environment early on, and that’s what I was hoping to do, is put some pressure early. But there was just no way those putts, they just weren’t falling.”
Smoltz said he was sure Fish would win early on Sunday.
“I thought he won the tournament on the first hole when he hit his second shot in the water, made 15-foot for bogey; goes from zero to minus 2, and all of a sudden Kyle had a five-footer or six-footer for birdie, early on,” Smoltz said. “Mardy hits the ball so far and he has such great touch. So playing against him is, I knew going in this that lead wasn’t anything I could do anything with.”
Curry was the best-finishing active athlete in the tournament.
His father, Dell Curry, finished with 50 points and was also in the top 10. Steph had spotted Dell six points, so they tied in the family competition.
Steph Curry said he thinks he can win the ACC someday, adding getting off to a good start is key and getting into the competitive mindset.
“That first day is always kind of the shaky one, just getting into competitive golf mentality, which is always — it’s tough. This game is extremely hard,” Curry said. “I do think I can get it done. But I’ve got a couple more years on the court. So maybe play the odds on that front, but I think I can get it done.”
He said winning the ACC while still competing as an active professional athlete would be huge.
“I know in terms of active guys and our day jobs and how much we spend on our crafts outside of golf, but it’s nice to represent all the active guys in that respect; but to be the first active one, I think, to win it, I’m still searching for that one. That would mean a lot,” he said.
Fish, 38, was a professional tennis player in the early 2000s. The hard-court specialist won six tournaments on the main ATP tour and reached the final of four Masters Series events.
At the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, Fish won a silver medal, as he reached the final in the men’s singles before losing to Nicolás Massú.
In April 2011, Fish became the top American in the ATP rankings, reaching a career-high singles ranking of No. 7 in August.
He retired from pro tennis after the 2015 U.S. Open.
Two-time defending champion Tony Romo withdrew, citing a wrist injury he suffered during Saturday’s round.
Charles Barkley held good to his guarantee of not finishing last as he finished 69th out of 70 golfers, besting Eddie George by three points.