Big league 68 for Rhoden boosts his hopes for tour

Former All-Star pitcher tries to make up for lost time, become tour regular

Constellation Energy Classic notebook

September 17, 2005|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Unlike the Champions Tour, Rick Rhoden wasn't idle last weekend.

While the tour's top players took a week off before resuming their pursuit of points and position in the Charles Schwab Cup in the Constellation Energy Classic, Rhoden teed it up in Denver.

On Sunday, the former baseball All-Star pitcher won his third consecutive John Elway Celebrity Classic, but he's had enough of beating the likes of Al Del Greco, Mickey Tettleton and Jack Marin in his second professional life.

Playing on his third sponsor's exemption of the year, Rhoden was the first of the six men in at 68 in the first round of the CEC. He's not knocking being the best ever on the Celebrity Players Tour, but wants to be a regular on the Champions Tour.

"You try to come in the top seven at tour [qualifying] school. That's a hard thing to do," Rhoden said. "On the celebrity tour, there are 10-15 guys who are good players, but it's not like playing out here. These guys have been playing for 30, 40 years, and I'm an infant."

Rhoden, 52, won 151 games in 16 seasons with four teams, and was known as one of the best hitting pitchers in the majors, the only one ever to start a game as a designated hitter. A 2-handicap golfer when he retired from baseball, Rhoden has never taken a golf lesson.

His best finish on the Champions Tour was a tie for fifth in the 2003 Allianz Championship.

Watson stops

Tom Watson did not make a hasty exit from Hayfields yesterday. He stopped for several minutes and visited with Dave Haslup, who's battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS took the life of Bruce Edwards, Watson's longtime caddy.

Watson was the headliner at a Monday charity event for ALS research at Johns Hopkins' Robert Packard Center.

Tap-ins

Gary Player pulled out with a back problem and Gil Morgan did the same after attempting to warm up in the morning. ... John Jacobs leads the "super seniors," those over 60, with 67, while Bob Charles matched his age, 69. ... Dana Quigley, who leads the Champions Tour in earnings and scoring, birdied the first three holes but shot 71. ... Former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman, 67, made his first appearance on the Tour since the 2003 Senior British Open.

Tee times

Today's first round

(No. 1 tee) 9:30 a.m.: Wayne Levi, Des Smyth, Doug Tewell 9:40: Bobby Wadkins, Mike Sullivan, Mike McCullough 9:50: Brad Bryant, Ed Dougherty, Joe Inman 10:00: Gibby Gilbert, Rocky Thompson, Norm Jarvis 10:10: Bob Murphy, James Mason, Dave Barr 10:20: Bob Charles, Doug Johnson, Mike San Filippo 10:30: Bruce Fleisher, Tom Jenkins, Morris Hatalsky 10:40: Keith Fergus, Allen Doyle, Pete Oakley 10:50: Curtis Strange, John Ross, Gary McCord 11:00: Jim Colbert, Andy Bean, Mark James 11:10: John Bland, Hajime Meshiai, Rick Rhoden 11:20: Larry Nelson, D.A. Weibring, John Jacobs 11:30: Bob Gilder, Tom Watson, Dan Pohl

(No. 10) 9:35 a.m.: Jay Sigel, Don Pooley, Dana Quigley 9:45: Jim Albus, Walter Hall, Howard Twitty 9:55: Graham Marsh, Charles Coody, Bruce Summerhays 10:05: Mike Reid, David Eger, Mark Johnson 10:15: Gary Koch, Tom McKnight, Dave Stockton 10:25: Dale Douglass, Jerry Pate, Lanny Wadkins 10:35: Mike Hill, J.C. Snead, Jim Thorpe 10:45: Jim Ahern, Tom Kite, Raymond Floyd 10:55: Lonnie Nielsen, Mike Donald, Leonard Thompson 11:05: Terry Dill Mark McCumber John Harris 11:15: Joe Clark R.W. Eaks Mark Lye 11:25: Larry Ziegler Jim Dent Deane Beman 11:35: Don Reese Dick Mast Lee Trevino

Scores

Champions

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