LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Major League Baseball Hall-of-Fame pitcher John Smoltz moved into position to defend his title in the celebrity pro-am division of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.
With 37 points Saturday in the Modified-Stableford format, best on the day, Smoltz moved four points ahead of fellow former major leaguer Mark Mulder and six ahead of former American tennis professional Mardy Fish.
Chad Pfeifer, a military veteran who lost his lower left leg in the Iraqi war, is in fourth place, 10 points back. He has gained a strong following in his bid to win. He has won a pair of national amputee championships, three U.S. wounded-warrior events and ranks seventh in the world among disabled golfers.
Golf Channel’s Blair O’Neal, playing six months pregnant, is seventh, 15 points back.
Smoltz knows he has some strong challengers behind him.
“All in all, I’m in the same position I was last year with a four-point lead, trying to hold them off,” Smoltz said.
Smoltz said he will be looking to limit his mistakes.
“There’s some firepower behind me, so I definitely know I’ll have to shoot the same kind of score tomorrow that I shot today to win,” he said.