STATELINE, Nev. — Stephen Curry came into the American Century Championship as a complete underdog but now has the attention of the rest of the star-studded field. In fact, he’s now become the target as the Golden State Warriors point guard secured the lead with a modified stableford score of 25 on Saturday in the second round of the event at Edgewood Golf Club in South Lake Tahoe.
“The guy could have shot really low today and has the potential to shoot really low,” said former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien, who lost his 18-hole lead to Curry. “In order to beat him, I think you’ve got to have your A game.”
Curry put up a Saturday-best score of 25 points to boost his total to 47 after 36 holes. Former hockey player Jeremy Roenick and another former quarterback, Chris Chandler, are both one point behind Curry at +46, with Rypien at +45.
It’s still relatively new for the relative newcomer to the event. Having just ended the season in late spring, Curry has barely had any time to practice. He came here this week with the intention of having fun with his family and celebrating his daughter’s first birthday.
Harvey’s Casino, right outside of the Edgewood gates, lists Curry’s odds of winning as 50 to 1.
“I hope I make some people happy out there,” Curry said. “This is all unfamiliar territory for me so I don’t know what to expect, to be honest with you. I slept pretty good last night and I played a good round, so hopefully that’s the same thing.”
The question of whether sleeping on a lead or waiting for Game Seven of the NBA playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs, Roenick went ahead and answered that for him:
“What’s tougher is he’ll have to play with a hockey player tomorrow,” Roenick said.
Curry corrected him.
“A hockey player and a quarterback.”
With Curry’s steady play, the odds of him becoming the first-ever basketball player to win the event are looking a lot better than 50 to 1.
Maybe he should stick to football…
South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier looked like he was having a better day than his -6 would show. The “Old Ball Coach” is never one to shy away from his fans, interacting with the crowd and bantering with his playing partners Joe Buck and John O’Hurley on nearly every hole.
Unfortunately, Spurrier’s score continues to shrink with a scoring format that favors the big numbers.
Don’t count on him retiring to play golf any time soon.
“The way I play golf – which stinks – I think I needed to keep coaching longer,” Spurrier said. “I can’t keep playing golf and never making a putt. I mean never – I don’t think I’ve had a one-putt in two days.”
Roenick and Chandler have been regulars in the event for several years and have forged a close friendship in that time. Lucky for them, they will play together in Sunday’s final round, along with Curry.
But no one knew quite the extent of the friendship until after Saturday’s second round.
“Tomorrow, I get the chance to play with one of my best buddies,” Roenick said.
Roenick then grabbed his good buddy Chandler’s head and planted a big fat kiss on the side of it.
“There’s a lot of love here,” Chandler responded.
It’s common at this event for fans to toss footballs, baseballs and basketballs to players on the 17th or 18th holes and have them autographed or tossed back. Saturday was no different, as a fan from the beach tossed a football to hall of fame quarterback John Elway on hole 17. Elway threw back a perfect spiral.
Then it was Roenick’s turn.
But instead of tossing it back to the fan, the former NHLer tossed it to Elway and ran a route through a sand trap and behind his caddie. Elway lobbed one his direction and he jumped out in front of his caddie to make the catch.
But it didn’t end there.
Roenick then ran untouched through the rest of the sand trap, hurling himself over a small tree before thrusting his hands in the air to signal a touchdown.
“I told him from the first tee box there’s going to be a pass coming on 17. Make sure you put it in my wheelhouse,” Roenick said. “He did and I dropped it. It was so embarrassing I said ‘Let’s do it again.’
“As soon as I caught it, I did the barrel role over one of the bushes. It was a touchdown.”
Said Chris Chandler, “Wish I had seen that.”
Roenick was quick to reply, “It was only second down.”