Brett Favre, Derek Jeter bring out crowd at American Family Insurance Championship


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MADISON, WI. — It seemed like Saturday was set up for the megawatt personalities at the PGA Tour Champions’ American Family Insurance Championship at University Ridge.

There was a buzz among the spectators in the late morning when two huge sports utility vehicles pulled up to the clubhouse and Derek Jeter and Brett Favre popped out.

Those bold-faced names took part in the celebrity foursome alongside Juli Inkster and Andy North. Several uniformed police officers accompanied them to the driving range as fans in New York Yankees and Green Bay Packers gear clamored for autographs.

Even in the regular field, there was some star power grabbing pieces of the spotlight, with fan-favorite John Daly tying for the second-lowest round.

But when the second round was over, it was a relatively unknown golfer, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, who was tied atop the leaderboard with a more familiar name in Miguel Angel Jiménez at 10-under 134.

There are plenty of golfers within striking distance, so it could be a tight finish on Sunday.

Jaidee had a workmanlike effort with the lowest round at 7-under 65. Jiménez boasts a little more pizzazz with his ponytail, bespoke shoes and animated gestures.

“I’m going to have a bit of wine like every night,” Jiménez said after his 4-under 68. “Like every night, we’re going to enjoy the night and at 7:30 we have our dinner like every day. Have a cigar afterwards and go to sleep like a baby.”

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Miguel Angel Jimenez is tied for the lead at the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison.

Daly always attracts a cult following with his bushy beard, multi-colored pants and ever-present Diet Cokes and cigarettes. After a 71 in the first round, he fired a bogey-free, 6-under 66.

“I made a few putts here and there, hit a lot of fairways, but the guys are going low,” Daly said. “It’s hard to win out here.”

Steve Stricker, Jerry Kelly lacking energy at Am Fam Championship

Local celebrities Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly, the two-time defending champion, will be hard-pressed to contend for this year’s title.

Stricker shot a 3-under 69 and sits six shots behind the leaders.

“Had some opportunities there that I didn’t really take advantage of,” Stricker said. “Especially on the back nine: 11, 12, 13. Yeah, it was a little bit better today, but didn’t really get it in the hole very well at times. But it was better.”

The Edgerton native and Madison resident is balancing his duties as tournament host while trying to find consistency on the course after coming back from a serious illness.

“That’s been the problem with me since I’ve been back is just getting fired up,” Stricker said. “I missed a little putt at I guess it would have been 13 and hit it in there to 3, 4 feet. Missed it. Go back on the tee and beat up the tee a little bit. Then I finally get some energy and emotion.

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“That’s what I’ve been lacking a little bit of, that mentality like I had before. And I don’t know why, it kind of comes and goes and I’m kind of going through the motions at times. It was better at times today, but still, it’s not my fiery self at times.”

Kelly is in better position at three shots back after also shooting a 69, but he can relate to the lack of energy. He’s coming off a playoff victory at the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I’m just tired,” Kelly said. “Normally I’m jacked. I really haven’t gotten as much adrenaline. I mean, that par on 17 got me about as excited as I’ve been this week. The eagle did yesterday on 16.”

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Former LPGA star Juli Inkster watches as ex-Packers quarterback Brett Favre throws a football at University Ridge Golf Club on Saturday. They were part of a celebrity foursome at the American Family Insurance Championship.

Derek Jeter, Juli Inkster beat Brett Favre, Andy North in celebrity foursome

The star attractions of the day — Favre and Jeter — were at ease in the spotlight. Favre even tossed some footballs to fans on the 14th hole. The pairing of Jeter and Inkster beat Favre and North over nine holes, leading to a lot of good-natured gibes afterward.

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“I had a blast as always,” Favre said. “I’m honored to be asked back to play in this year in and year out. My back was not cooperating. I’m not making excuses, I suck anyway.

“But I was glad I was able to fight through it and play. It’s always great to be back in Wisconsin and see the fans, especially how they support their athletics.”



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