It was only a matter of time before Mark Mulder stormed back during the American Century Championship, as thousands of sun-kissed fans once again packed the celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course on Saturday.
Winner of three straight ACC championships (2015-17), Mulder recorded a personal best 31 points on the Stableford scoring system. Finishing tied for 16th on day one, he’s in second place with 47 points on Day 2, one point behind Joe Pavelski with 48.
Mulder, 40, tallied eight birdies and three bogies, scoring 24 points over a nine-hole stretch.
“From 16 on through today I’ve played pretty well,” he said. “I couldn’t hit any worse than the first 15 holes yesterday, so I just kept it going and my putting game followed. I just need to stay in my zone and the rest will take care of itself.”
Mulder, the former Oakland Athletics ace pitcher, credits his aggressiveness toward his huge jump on the leaderboard, including Hole 18, where he found his way out of the sand trap and sunk a signature birdie putt.
“I was really trying to make it to the fairways and greens early on,” he said. “That led to some eagle opportunities, which helped out. Then it all started to flow on the back nine.”
Pavelski, 34, the San Jose Sharks captain, had another solid day, tallying 23 points with six birdies and four bogies. He has played well for two straight days and hopes that continues to a podium finish on Sunday.
“I think I just need to play some solid golf,” he said. “I gotta put a little on (Mulder) out there. You know he’s going to do his thing. But I need to stay within myself and capitalize on my opportunities.”
Similar to stocks, several of the 92 competitors experienced some highs and lows.
Risers include NBA Hall-of-Famer Ray Allen, who started the day tied for 20th and finished in seventh place with a 22-point outing.
“The difference I notice, when you play in that final round, is you have to stay aggressive,” he said. “And today I took those shots and played pretty well and I put myself in a good position.”
Mardy Fish rose up eight spots and is tied for fifth with Mark Rypien at 39 points. Aaron Rodgers rose up five spots after placing 16th Friday, he’s tied for 11th with All-Pro wide receiver Adam Thielen. Former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo sits at third place, he finished eighth on Day 1.
Fallers include Steph Curry, who tumbled all the way down to 19th place after an eighth-place finish on Friday’s opening round. He has 28 points through two days of action. John Smoltz and Bret Saberhagen fell six spots, and they are tied for ninth place. Charles Barkley is last with -63.
Plenty of movement in the leaderboards makes for an exciting third-day finish Sunday. The ACC attracts record attendance numbers with a lineup of superstar athletes and entertainers.
— Isaiah Burrows