Celebrity star power draws fans early
STATELINE, Nev. – Fans aren’t waiting until the weekend to see their favorite celebrities at the 27th annual American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course this week.
Justin Timberlake drew a large audience while he warmed up on the driving range on a near-cloudless Tuesday morning, and parked cars were backed up all the way to Highway 50, about a mile from the entrance to the 18-hole track on the south shore of Lake Tahoe.
It isn’t uncommon to see cars backed up to Highway 50, but it usually doesn’t happen until later in the week of this $600,000, 54-hole tournament. Celeb-am rounds are Tuesday through Thursday, and competition among the 86 sports and entertainment stars begins Friday. The weather forecast calls for sunny skies throughout the week.
Fans are also getting their first look at the expansion project at Edgewood, which began just after former pitcher Mark Mulder won the 2015 ACC. The $100 million project will include a 154-room lodge, a health spa, bistro-style restaurant and conference center. Future plans include an expanded clubhouse and 10 cabins along the newly remodeled eighth and ninth fairways.
In addition to Timberlake and Mulder, other celebrities in the field include two-time and reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, former NBA star Charles Barkley, actor Ray Romano, former Team USA soccer star Abby Wambach and comedian Larry the Cable Guy.
The tournament is being televised live on NBC Sports Network (Friday, 6-8 p.m. EST) and NBC (Saturday and Sunday, 3-6 p.m. EST).
Tickets are $20 Tuesday through Thursday and $30 Friday through Sunday and are available at the gate. Discounted tickets are available at Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods grocery stores in Northern Nevada and Northern California. Active duty reservists, National Guard, military retirees and veterans can receive one complimentary ticket and one complimentary guest ticket daily.
Heather LeMaster establishes a women’s world long drive record at elevation.
STATELINE, Nev. – Heather LeMaster, the 2013 Women’s World Long Drive champion, smashed a 336-yards drive to establish a women’s world record at elevation Tuesday as part of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
LeMaster, a Sacramento native, was one of four contestants. Blair O’Neal, a former LPGA Symentra Tour player and current Golf Channel host, found the fairway in all nine of her shots, with the best reaching 325 yards. Morgan Murphy, a pro at nearby Lake Tahoe Golf Course, hit the 314-yard mark. Kathryn Tappen, a host and reporter for the NFL and NHL on NBC Sports, reached 255 yards. A light breeze was at the players’ backs on the No. 1 tee.
LeMaster, O’Neal and Tappen will be three of the record five women competing in the 27th annual celebrity tournament on the shores of Lake Tahoe.
The tournament will submit the longest drive to the Guinness Book of World Records. To date, Guinness has not recognized at women’s long drive at elevation (Edgewood is at 6,200 feet). Guinness recognizes the landing spot of a drive, and that mark was established by LeMaster, too – 293 yards.
“I love that all four girls were out here,” said the 5-foot-11 LeMaster, who played collegiately at Cal State Sacramento. “I only hit four (drives) in the grid out of nine. I knew accuracy wasn’t going to be my forte, but I knew length could be. I was fortunate with the elevation here at Tahoe. …
“I wanted 345 really bad. That 293 ball was it, but I caught it too high on the club face.”
O’Neal was pleased with her efforts.
“I hit 325, so I gave it a shot,” said O’Neal, who has also been a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. “I hit every fairway, though, so I give myself points for that. But Heather was great. She crushed it.”
LeMaster, who is recently engaged and had small, black pistol earrings dangling from each ear, liked the thought of possibly ending up in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“I think it’s a great possibility,” she said. “It’s a lot to build on. I think it’s a realistic number that other girls are going to look and go, hey, I can do this, or, hey, I should come out to the American Century next year when we do it again.”
The tournament is Friday through Sunday and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network (Friday, 6-8 p.m. EST) and NBC (Saturday and Sunday, 3-6 p.m. EST).
Among the celebrities competing are actor/singer Justin Timberlake, two-time and reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, former NBA star Charles Barkley, actor Ray Romano, former Team USA soccer star Abby Wambach and comedian Larry the Cable Guy.
Career Highlights: Versatile reporter and host Kathryn Tappen serves a variety of roles for NBC Sports including a reporter for Notre Dame Football coverage and co-host of “Peacock Sunday Night Football Final.” Tappan also has served as a sideline reporter for “Sunday Night Football” games and at Super Bowl LVI in February. At the beginning of 2022, she also added lead interviewer for PGA Tour golf coverage and major championships to her duties. Previously, Tappen served as host of NBC’s NHL coverage from 2014 to 2021, in addition to providing coverage of the Olympics and more. In 2020 Tappen anchored studio coverage as part of the first ever all-female crew that broadcast and produced the Blues-Blackhawks matchup. Prior to NBC, Tappen joined the NHL Network in 2011 as the host of “NHL Tonight.” Prior to that, she spent five years with the New England Sports Network as the lead studio host for Boston Bruins games, and also reported on the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, and Boston Celtics. Tappen was a weekend anchor, and weekday sports reporter for WJAR in Providence after she began her career in 2003 at College Sports Television.