Lake Tahoe, NV – Former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien put up 27 points in the modified Stableford system to capture the first-round lead ahead of perennial contenders John Elway and Jeremy Roenick as the American Century Championship kicked off Friday at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
Rypien ended two points ahead of actor Lucas Black, and former NFL quarterback Chris Chandler was one behind that with 24. Golden State Warriors star guard Steph Curry was tied with Elway and Roenick at 22 points in the $600.000, 54- hole event that uses a scoring system awarding graduated points for pars or better.
Rypien won the inaugural event in 1990 and finished second a year ago. He has eight top-10 finishes in 21 starts.
"I got it going on my first nine holes and scored by far my best in all the years I have played here," said Rypien. "The fountain of youth is not in my favor, but I think I am playing better golf now than when I first came out here."
Rypien's round was buoyed by an eagle-3 on the par-5 16th hole, where he hit a hybrid to eight feet and made the putt.
Curry is on the leaderboard following a standout season with the Golden State Warriors that moved him into the top tier of backcourt players in the NBA.
"I was hitting it pretty well and a few putts fell on the back nine. I avoided bogey all day," stated Curry. "This is weird talking golf, by the way."
Black had his best round in three years at the event, shooting a 1-under-par 71. Chandler led for a time on the second nine before making a double bogey on his second to last hole (the 8th).
Defending champion Dan Quinn, a five-time winner and former NHL star, struggled with only 13 points and last year's runner-up Jack Wagner finished with only 10 points.
The event will be televised by NBC on Saturday and Sunday from 3-6 p.m. ET.