Ex-tennis star Mardy Fish leads Diamond Resorts Invitational
WINDERMERE, Fla. (AP) — Former tennis player Mardy Fish scored 30 points Friday in the inaugural Diamond Resorts Invitational to take a nine-point lead after the second round of the modified Stableford event for celebrity athletes and entertainers.
Players receive six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus-2 for double bogey and higher.
The 34-year-old Fish, the top-ranked U.S. tennis player in 2011, birdied five of the first 12 holes and eagled the 17th. He had 43 points with one round left at Golden Bear Club at Keene's Point.
Former pitcher Rick Rhoden was second after a 25-point round.
Former NFL quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver was 12 points back in third after scoring 24 points, and actor Jack Wagner was 14 points behind after a 23-point round.
Pitcher Bret Saberhagen, the first-round leader, dropped to 19th with 24 points after losing a point.
Fish's closest pursuers have won a total of 12 American Century Celebrity titles in Lake Tahoe (Rhoden 8, Tolliver 4). But Rhoden said it will be difficult to catch the leader, a six-time ATP winner.
"I'll have to play like I did today (six birdies) and not make a double bogey (like he did late), and he's going to have to have an off day," said Rhoden, who has played on the Champions Tour. "He's going to have to make mistakes for anyone to catch him."
Fish learned the game around age 10 while playing nine holes "almost every day" at Sandridge Golf Course with best friend Jake Owen, a county music star also in the DRI field.
"We had to pay a dollar plus tax," said Fish, a high school classmate of fellow tennis star Andy Roddick. "It came to $1.07. For that we got nine holes, a hot dog and chips. Not a bad deal."