Stateline, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - In his last six of seven tries, Jeremy Roenick has come close to winning the biggest prize in celebrity golf. He has five top-10 finishes and barring any huge blowups in Sunday's final round at the American Celebrity Golf Championship, he'll have another.
Roenick was one of few that seemed to be able to control his putter after rainstorms in the Lake Tahoe area had softened the greens at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. A nearly mistake-free putting performance led the former NHL player to a 3-under 69 in the second round Saturday, earning him a Stableford total of 25 points to give him a total of 48 for the week as well as the clubhouse lead.
"For me, I wanted to make sure I didn't make any mistakes," Roenick said. "So far I've hit the ball where I wanted it, and I've not made - I made one mistake. I had a little 3-putt, unfortunately, on six. But besides that, I've hit the ball exactly where I want to hit it. I've been fortunate to do what I wanted. Had a couple of putts fall, so it's good."
The tournament uses a modified Stableford format that awards 10 points for a double eagle, eight for a hole-in-one, six for an eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus-2 for double-bogey or worse.
Right behind Roenick is Chad Pfeifer, the Iraq War veteran who plays with a prosthetic right leg and who won three Warrior Opens, is in second place with a two-round total of 44. Mark Rypien, the former NFL quarterback who won the inaugural event in 1990 and lost in a playoff last year, is one point behind Pfeifer with 43.
"This guy, Chad hits the golf ball as well as anybody I've seen," Rypien said. "I'm talking (PGA) Tour guys I've played with. He hits the golf ball as good as anybody I've seen. Work a little bit with that putter, he could run away with this dang thing."
Pfeifer, a former college baseball player, has the entire field in awe of his skills regardless of any sort of "handicap."
"There's no handicap in Chad, in my opinion," Roenick said. "I'm trying to hit the ball to make sure I stay up with Chad right now and I think that says a lot."
Pfeifer, who started the day in first place, finished 1-over and was rewarded for three birdies for a second-round total of 20 points (44 total). He will again be playing in the final group on Sunday with the same two partners and would like for one in particular to cool off.
"Really had a great time today and hopefully we can all go out and finish strong," Pfeifer said. "All except Jeremy."
Annika Sorenstam is again tied for fourth with a two-round Stableford total of 21. The Modified Stableford format awards points for birdies and pars resulting in a greater payoff for aggressive play in risky situations. Sorenstam's putting performance wasn't exactly what she wanted and in order to win on Sunday, she plans to hit balls straight at the pins.
"I think if I look at the way I played, I'm hitting fairways, I'm hitting greens. I have many opportunities, it's just that on the greens I have not been able to perform," she said. "So to me, it's just going to go out there, maybe fire a little bit more at the pins and then wherever I am just feel like this is more of a match play and go for the putts and not have this type of lag putting that I'm doing. That's not really working."
The tournament concludes Sunday and will be televised on NBC.