STATELINE, NEV. — Tony Romo gave the field a glimmer of hope, but the defending champ finished strong and holds a commanding lead heading into the final round of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament.
Romo double bogeyed the 14th hole and saw his lead shrink to four points, but he rallied for back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 and finished the day with 51 points, nine points better than Mardy Fish and Derek Lowe.
“Overall, it was a good day,” Romo said. “I felt good about game coming in. It’s nice when you’re not tinkering, just trying to execute shots.”
Romo credits playing in other competitive tournaments to improving his game and identifying his weaknesses.
“There were a lot of them,” he said.
He didn’t have many weaknesses Saturday afternoon in front of thousands of spectators at Edgewood Tahoe.
He made six birdies, two bogeys and lost points on one hole with a double bogey using the modified stableford scoring system.
Fish tied Romo for the most points scored in the second round. He made five birdies and three bogeys and didn’t lose a single point the entire round.
Fish said he played well, but is going to sleep Saturday night thinking about the points he left out there. He referred to 16 and 18 where he had birdie opportunities.
”I left a lot out there,” Fish said. “A couple of things went in early, still missed some. I hit it closer to the pin today than yesterday, that was the big difference for me.”
Lowe started the day in second place and finished there, albeit a few points farther behind.
Lowe scored 19 points, recording two birdies and three bogeys. He started and finished with bogeys.
“It started rough and finished rough,” Lowe said and added that it was enjoyable playing with Romo for the first time. “I’m looking forward to (Sunday). Being around him, we don’t have to ask where we live and that kind of stuff. I’m looking forward to it.”
He knows the battle is uphill trying to catch Romo.
“I’m going to need to shoot in the mid-60s and get some help,” Lowe said.
Fish agrees that catching Romo is going to take a Herculean effort.
“I’m gonna need, you would think, something in the 30s and some help,” Fish said. “There’s a lot to play for. It’s fun. The most disappointing thing is we have only one round left.”
Jack Wagner is on fourth with 38 points, three-time champ Mark Mulder has 37 and John Smotlz and Kyle Williams, who scored 24 points Saturday, have 36 points, Case Keenum has 35 and Jeremy Roenick has 34.
Dell Curry, after chipping into the water on 18, made a 50-footer for par to stay three points ahead of his son, Stephen.
The younger Curry eagled No. 18 for the second straight day and has scored 15 points in each of the first two rounds.
The two have a running bet. Two years ago, Dell jumped into Lake Tahoe after losing the scoring bet to his son.
Stephen leaped into the lake last year after his dad won the bet.
The bet this year has changed.
“We decided to go against jumping into the lake,” Dell Curry said. “I think we are going to try to embarrass somebody with karaoke next year, so we will stick with that.”
As for Romo playing it safe Sunday, that’s not in his thought process.
“I try to take the same approach regardless,” Romo said. “You look up on the 13th hole and see where you’re at. Until then, you’re just going to try and make as many birdies as you can.”