SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. (AP) — Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz eagled the par-5 18th hole Saturday to take a two-point lead over Vinny Del Negro into the final round of the American Century Championship.
“Eighteen is my worst hole,” Smoltz said. “I’ve been in the fairway maybe a couple times. It just didn’t fit my eye. I don’t get many eagles out here. I feel like I should. But that’s a great feeling to know when you can see the scoreboard, knowing that the putt puts you in the lead. That was a good feeling to make that putt.”
Smoltz had a 26-point round at Edgewood Tahoe in the modified Stableford scoring event for a two-day total of 51. Del Negro, a former NBA player and coach, also scored 26 points. In traditional scoring, Smoltz and Del Negro each shot 2-under 70.
“I make no bones about it. I want to win this tournament probably more than anybody,” Smoltz said. “That’s probably why I haven’t won it.”
Two-time winner Jack Wagner was third at 47 after a 23-point day. Former LPGA Tour star Annika Sorenstam was another point back.
Two-time winner Tony Romo was fifth with 42, and defending champion Mardy Fish matched Stephen Curry at 39.
Mike Modano, tied with Smoltz for the first-round lead after an albatross on 18, had a seven-point second round to drop into a tie for 12th at 32 points.
Charles Barkley was tied for 77th in the 88-player field at minus-21. Al Michaels was last at minus-59.