Mardy Fish wins Diamond Resorts Invitational
WINDERMERE, Fla. (AP) — Former tennis player Mardy Fish won the Diamond Resorts Invitational on Sunday, easily holding off former pitcher Rick Rhoden in the modified Stableford event for celebrity athletes and entertainers.
Players received six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus-2 for double bogey and higher in the inaugural event at Golden Bear Club at Keene’s Point.
The 34-year-old Fish, a six-time ATP winner who retired from tennis last year after the U.S. Open, scored 26 points in the third round to finish with 79. Rhoden, who has played the Champions Tour player, had a 21-point round to finish 14 points back.
“It kind of felt like I was in the finals of a tennis tournament again,” Fish said. “It was fun. I mean, it’s fun to compete like that. ... It was a blast. It’s been an awesome event.”
The left-hander earned $100,000.
John Smoltz was third with 62 points, and fellow Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine was another point back. Former NFL quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver was fifth with 59 points.
Fish began the day with a nine-point lead over Rhoden, but the former pitcher pulled within four points with birdies on Nos. 5 and 6. Rhoden pulled an iron tee shot and had a double bogey on the par-3 seventh, and Fish birdied Nos. 8-9 for an 11-point lead.
“That was the whole shooting match,” Rhoden said.
The self-taught Fish turned to competitive golf a couple of years ago after suffering through an anxiety disorder in tennis. He has referred to golf as an “escape” from that and a “savior.”
″″I grew up playing golf,” Fish said. “Never took a lesson until a year ago, just to figure out kind of what I was doing with my swing. But it was just one or two lessons. It wasn’t a big deal. I kind of feel like it’s a pretty natural swing for me. It’s a backhand really for me. So it’s fairly natural.”
Blair O’Neal was the top female player, finishing eighth with 50 points.