Actor Jack Wagner, the defending champion, and former major league pitcher Mark Mulder each scored 22 points Friday to share the lead after the first round of the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
The duo leads by one point over NFL placekicker Ryan Longwell and by two over hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
Romo, the betting favorite, birdied the final hole to climb within striking distance.
"There are certain putts that you need to make to keep yourself in position," said Romo of his last putt. "Even when you're not putting well, I had to have that one. It was important. I hit the ball fine, it was just some chips and some putts. If I clean that up, I'll have about 10 extra points."
The tournament uses a Stableford scoring system that awards graduated points for pars or better. The event continues on Saturday and Sunday, with television coverage be televised by NBC from 3-6 p.m. (ET).
"I think I had 40 putts. Normally, that's the strength of my game," said Wagner, who is one of four players who have played in all 22 past Tahoe events. "I hit it really well. I didn't make any putts."
However, Wagner made enough putts to have three birdies on the day to offset his two bogeys. Mulder, meanwhile, used his length to help him make four birdies to go with four bogeys. Mulder has played in two previous tournaments with a best of 14th in 2010.
"I was killing my drives and had mid-irons into the par 5s, but this is not what I do for a living so I'm not that confident in my game," said Mulder, who pitched nine seasons in the big leagues with a career record of 130-60. "I'm trying to enjoy myself and not put so much pressure on myself this year. I came into this week hitting the ball well."
By Craig Smith, former director of media relations for the USGA.