“Corporal Clutch” comin’ to town

Chad Pfeifer was expecting to be in Monday qualifying today, but he’s in the field Thursday at Hillcrest. JIt’s Albertsons Boise Open week, kicking off with the Monday qualifier at Ridgecrest in Nampa. Vallivue High graduate Chad Pfeifer was expecting to be there, but he’ll be in the field Thursday at Hillcrest Country Club thanks to a sponsor exemption. There have been some cool stories that have come out of Boise Open exemptions over the years—witness Michelle Wie in 2003 and Rickie Fowler in 2009. But the coolest is probably Pfeifer, the Iraq War veteran who lost his left leg below the knee in 2007. Baseball was his calling as a young athlete, but golf is where he is on a quest to make history.

Pfeifer played baseball for NNU at the turn of the century, years before he was deployed to Iraq with the 509th Airborne Infantry unit. The war incident that changed his life earned him the Purple Heart, but what would the rest of his life be like? In less than a year, Pfeifer was playing golf for the first time as part of his rehab. The sport has become much more than that. Now he plays very, very well—and is seeking to become the first amputee ever to play on the PGA Tour.

I mean, he’s played very, very well. Pfeifer is a three-time winner of the Warrior Open, a tournament for injured veterans. He was the 2011 National Amputee Golf champion. This was a big one last summer: Pfeifer finished fifth at the American Century Celebrity Championship at Lake Tahoe. And he’s a star on the Golf Channel’s reality show, “Big Break – The Palm Beaches,” where he earned the nickname “Corporal Clutch.” Here’s hoping Corporal Clutch makes the cut at Hillcrest.

It’ll be interesting to see how many players from this past week’s Web.com Tour event are entered in the Albertsons Boise Open. Last year, as it has many times in the past, the Boise stop on the tour followed the Utah Championship. No problem. This season, the Boise Open has been pushed up a week, and it follows the Nova Scotia Open. Halifax, perched on the Atlantic to the east of Maine, is more than 2,500 miles from the City of Trees. That is a haul. The Nova Scotia Open winner yesterday was Abraham Ancer, who rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat fellow Texan Bronson Burgoon for his first professional win. Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge, currently eighth on the Web.com Tour money list, took the week off to gear up for a homecoming at Hillcrest.

Graham DeLaet followed his fourth-place finish at the Travelers Championship a week ago with a tie for 37th yesterday at the Greenbrier Classic. The former Boise State star had made a move Saturday with a three-under 67 before settling back to a final-round 69. DeLaet earned $22,851 to move him to $942,167 on the season. All the while he was rooting on countryman David Hearn, Canada’s other feature PGA Tour player who made a four-way playoff yesterday. “The ol’ Hearn Daddy,” tweeted DeLaet. “C’mon, bud!” Hearn made it to the second playoff hole before falling to David Lee.

The “don’t blink” theme returns. The countdown to kickoff between Boise State and Washington is down to 60 days today. Let’s check out a subtle rule change in the Mountain West. I’ve talked before about the possibility of the Broncos doing with Brett Rypien what they did with Joe Southwick in 2009. They could prepare Rypien as the No. 2 quarterback in practice and take him on all the road trips—but not play him unless absolutely necessary, thus preserving his redshirt year. Just a theory. Well, the Mountain West has increased the travel limit for conference games from 64 to 68 players (there is no limit for non-conference games). That will make it easier to take Rypien along should Boise State so choose, and not sacrifice that spot for, say, a special teams player who could additionally provide depth at another position.

Derrick Marks was supposed to begin play tonight for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA’s Utah Jazz Summer League. But Marks is no longer on the Sixers’ roster for the Salt Lake event. The Statesman’s Dave Southorn reports that Marks, while he remains in Philly’s minicamp and hopes to play in the Las Vegas Summer League beginning Friday, is entertaining an offer in Italy from Derthona Basket, a second-level pro team.

Bishop Kelly grad Josh Osich was called up by San Francisco Friday and made his big league debut that night in the Giants’ 2-1 loss at Washington. Osich came on in the bottom of the eighth inning and walked his first batter. He issued two bases on balls but got out of it with a scoreless inning, clocking his first major league strikeout and inducing a fly-out to shallow centerfield by Nationals superstar Bryce Harper. Osich also threw 1 1/3 perfect innings last night at Washington in a 3-1 loss. The former Oregon State Beaver had pitched two games for Triple-A Sacramento before the call-up but had spent most of the season with Double-A Richmond, where he logged 19 saves and compiled a sparkling 1.59 ERA. Osich was selected by the Giants in the sixth round of the 2011 MLB Draft.

Boise bats broke out yesterday in Spokane, producing nine runs over the final four innings in an 11-2 rout of the Indians. Terry McClure, Carlos Herrera and Yonathan Daza were key to the outburst, as all three went 4-for-5. McClure and Herrera also contributed home runs. Starter Logan Sawyer did his part on the mound, scattering five hits and allowing two runs in seven innings. And the Hawks offense gave the struggling bullpen plenty of pad this time. The win was only Boise’s second in its past seven games.

Other holiday weekend wrap: Brian Scott has had three second-place finishes in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and Saturday he could taste his first title while leading the Xfinity race at Daytona for 84 laps. But Scott got aggressive in seeking that first win, and a wreck in the 102nd lap left him in 23rd place. In the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona last night, er, this morning, he exited the Sprint Cup race after 85 laps due to another crash and finished 19th. And Pappas In The House won the Bitterroot Futurity on the 4th of July at Les Bois Park. Eddie Aceves was aboard for one of the premier races of the season at Les Bois, carrying a purse of more than $171,000.

This Day In Sports…July 6, 2008:

Roger Federer’s five-year run of Wimbledon men’s singles championships comes to an end in a remarkable five-set marathon against Rafael Nadal on Centre Court. Nadal took the first two sets, and—working around a long rain delay—Federer fought back to take the next two in tiebreakers. The elapsed time of the final was four hours and 48 minutes, and ended at 9:16PM Wimbledon time when Nadal survived the final set, 9-7, after another rain delay. It was the final Wimbledon before the addition of the Centre Court retractable roof.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)