Billy Joe Tolliver chipped in for an eagle Saturday to take a 2-point lead over Rick Rhoden, Dan Quinn and Mark Rypien through two rounds of the $500,000 American Century celebrity golf championship at Lake Tahoe.
Tolliver, a former NFL quaterback who won the 54-hole event in 1996, had a birdie, a double bogey and the rest pars to shoot a 1-under-par 71 and total 47 points in the modified Stableford scoring system at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
He'll play in the last group in Sunday's final round with Rhoden, the ex-pitcher who has won the tourney a record six times, and Rypien, another ex-quarterback who won the inaugural event. They also shot 71 Saturday to move into the tie for second with Quinn with 45 points.
"I think they ought to just quit now and give it to me," Tolliver said about the $100,000 prize.
"I'm a hell of a guy. I'm good looking. Can we get a storm? Where's that wildfire? Is it coming this way?" he asked reporters.
A large wildfire destroyed more than a dozen homes and forced hundreds of evacuations earlier in the week at Carson City about 20 miles away, but posed no threat to the south end of Lake Tahoe where the 6,972-yard course winds through towering pines.
Tennnis great Ivan Lendl fired five birdies Saturday, but had two double-bogeys, including one on the 501-yard, Par 5 18th to notch 43 points. Former NHL all-star Grant Fuhr, whose 70 was the best round of the day, is next with 41 points, followed by Chris Chandler and Al Del Greco at 40.
Next are ex-quarterbacks John Elway (37), Steve Bartkowski (36) and Neil Lomax (36) and Michael Jordan, Sterling Sharpe and Joe Theismann all at 35.
The scoring system puts a premium on eagles, which are worth 6 points, and birdies, which are worth 3. Pars are 1 point, bogeys zero and double bogey or worse minus 2.
Tolliver chipped in from the fringe for eagle on the 536-yard, Par 5 fourth.
"Right now, I'm chipping for birdie better than I'm putting for birdie," said Tolliver, whose ball hit a fan in the gallery to keep from going onto the beach on the finishing Par 5 bordering Lake Tahoe.
Rhoden, who won last year with 75 points, predicted the winner will have to tally at least 70.
"As close as it is, it is probably going to come down to the last hole," Rhoden said.
Quinn said he hopes to get some quick birdies Sunday to put some pressure on the final threesome.
"It could be an incredible finish. I'm just thankful I've still got a shot," said the former NHL star who ran into trouble up against a tree on the Par 4 13th.
"I took a shot at it and tried to whack it," Quinn said. "I got a nice bent 9 iron and a double-bogey for it."