Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL Episode 8 Breakdown

By Sara Brown, Kelly JacquesMarch 25, 2015, 12:32 pm

Big Break Ireland contestant Kelly Jacques breaks down Episode 8 of Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL, along with two-time Big Break contestant and host of School of Golf, Sara Brown. Don’t miss their expert commentary every week after each episode and make sure to tune in Mondays at 9PM ET.

Sara: Breakfast sure does get more and more quiet with each eliminated contestant... But that's all part of the game... Let's get to the day’s first immunity challenge!


Kelly: Yea, the ladder challenge! This drill is one of my favorites. It’s such a great test of how in control each player is of their game. The more confident you can be in your distances, the better. Which will turn into a lot more looks at birdie when you’re on the course! And Justin killed this challenge! 14 shots…are you kidding me?  I think that may be the best that we have ever seen someone do!!! Sara, did you get to try this one out on Big Break?


Sara: I did Kel... With chipping in Sandels and then with the team on Dominican Republic. These guys made this challenge look EASY but let me tell it's not!!!! You're so right though Kel, it shows who knows their game and their yardage! For Richy to start out like that and for Justin to follow it up WOW was that impressive!!! 


Kelly: I honestly did not think that anyone would be able to beat Justin and his impressive 14 shots that he put up. Then what happens?! Robert comes in and posts a 15! These guys are GOOD!


Sara: Robert put on a magnificent golf show!!!! I found myself rooting for him and when that last shot just went a little past 200 yards I was bummed but super happy for him to have gotten the immunity! What didn't impress me tho was Clay’s attitude again, trying to get into the heads of the other players... 


Kelly: I agree, and his antics definitely didn’t help his performance. A measly 2 shots!? Come on Clay, you’re better than that!


Sara: You need to speak with your clubs and not with your mouth and Clay sure failed at that this challenge. I was not impressed at all!!! 


Kelly: For the next challenge, the players had to hit from 3 locations, with 2 of the 3 locations counting. Kyle came out and missed the green twice from 140 yards . He has been really streaky with this play so far. Sara, do you think that was pure nerves for Kyle? 


Sara: just Kyle hasn't been playing that well. He's said it a few times and even Richy said it this episode! It's hard to get into a groove when it seems nothing is going your way...However I was shocked he missed the green on the first location twice! He got pretty lucky in the first elimination challenge with those two balls just barely in the fairway, you would think he would have used some of that momentum. He seems to have the best, most positive attitude which I sure do respect but you need to pull off the shots to win this show…and he’s definitely struggling in that area! But let's look at Justin WOW!!! 


Kelly: Yea Justin just got clipped in the first immunity challenge but came out just as strong in challenge #2! Through 2 locations he had an impressive 9 point lead, ensuring his immunity!


Sara: Justin is just SOLID!!! His game and his mental toughness are awesome to watch!!! I was happy he made it thru!!! 


Kelly: Did Clay just say he is trying to go to elimination so he can pick Richy for elimination?! Sara...have you ever heard anyone say they were trying to get into elimination?! 


Sara: That third and final location wasn't an easy one!! And COME ON!!! Kel there is no way Clay was wanting to get into elimination!!! If he truly did he would have butchered that last shot, not hit it into the 4 point circle. The interviews happen after the day is over... Maybe he just said that to add some drama. I don't know But he was right in thinking no matter who was in the bottom in this challenge he was getting picked. Richy and Kyle are best friends who played college golf together…and if they don't have to play each other they won't.You heard Richy say he's ready to take out Clay. Clay was playing no matter what happened! 


Kelly: In the elimination challenge, I was pretty impressed that Clay stepped up to the first hole and made a clutch birdie! Then what does he do?! He drains another birdie on hole 2! Two up with one hole to play!


Sara: I'm not gonna lie Kelly... This is the first time Clay showed he has GAME!!! To hit that shot right out of the gate and put the pressure on... And then birdie the 2nd hole too. OK CLAY I see you!!! Do your thing!!!! 


Kelly: Even though Clay can have a mouth on him, I am still pulling for him. I think he means well and really needs this Big Break…and he is pretty entertaining. However, I wanted to see Kyle play well too and I was surprised at how poorly he performed in elimination. 


Sara: Clay definitely talked with his clubs this elimination challenge... Which is all I wanted to see from him!!! He is hanging around because of his golf ability not because he can trash talk... If that stops I think he may have a chance at winning... If not well we all know what Karma is...


Kelly: I can’t help but feel bad for Kyle and the manner in which he was eliminated. You can tell he is a good guy but he definitely needs to become a little tougher in the pressure packed situations. Kyle, best of luck with everything and I’m looking forward to following you in the future!

Sara: Kyle kind of squeezed by each show... He even claimed to not hitting it the best and he seemed to be a little hesitant on some shots. I hope Big Break helped him realize he has major game and just needs to fine tune the toughness!!! I greatly enjoyed him on the show as one of the nicest on the cast…that accent was great to listen too as well!!! I wish you all the best Kyle and can't wait to see all the great things in store for you! But now we are down to 4 and These Guys are REAL Good!!!! 


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Beef's beer goggles: Less drinks = more wins

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

An offseason spent soul searching is apparently paying quick dividends for Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is in contention to win Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Johnston acknowledged he was “burning the candle at both ends” last year, playing both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but he told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t too much golf that hindered his efforts.

It was too much “socializing.”

“I'm a social person,” Johnston said. “If you go out with friends, or you get invited to something, I'll have a beer, please. But I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest. And it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.”

Johnston posted a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, moving into a tie for sixth, three shots off the lead. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi a week early to prepare for his first start of the new year. It’s paying off with a Sunday chance to win his second European Tour title.

“Last year was crazy, and like getting distracted, and things like that,” Johnston said. “You don't know it's happened until you've finished the season. You’re off doing things and you're burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, 'You've got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work.’”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Johnston finished 189th last year in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. He was 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

Johnston’s fun-loving personality, his scruffy beard and his big-bodied shape quickly made him one of the most popular and entertaining players in the game when he earned his PGA Tour card before the 2016-17 season. Golf Digest called him a “quirky outlier,” and while he has had fun with that persona, Johnston is also intent on continuing to prove he belongs among the game’s best players.

His plan for doing that?

“Just put the work in,” he said. “I didn’t put enough work in last year. It’s simple. It showed. So, just get down, knuckle down and practice hard.”

Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Getty Images

McIlroy making big statement in first start of 2018

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

So much for easing into the new year.

So much for working off rust and treating these first few months of 2018 as a warmup for the Masters and his bid to complete the career Grand Slam.

McIlroy, 28, is poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

With back-to-back birdies to close his round, McIlroy put up a 7-under-par 65, leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the final round.

“It’s good,” McIlroy said. “I probably scored a bit better today, short game was needed as well, but I hit the ball very well, so all in all it was another great round and confidence builder, not just for this week but obviously for the rest of the season as well.”

McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.

If he claims the title in his first start of the year, he sends a message about leaving all the woes of 2017 behind him. He sends a message about his fitness after a nagging rib injury plagued him all of last year. He sends a message about his readiness to reassert himself as the game’s best player in a world suddenly teeming with towering young talent.

After his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro, McIlroy is eager to show himself, as well as everyone else, that he is ready to challenge for major championships and the world No. 1 title again.

“It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

A victory would be all the more meaningful because the week started with McIlroy paired with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and reigning European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood.

McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent healthy,” he said. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

It’s worth repeating what 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman said last month about pairings and the alpha-dog nature of the world’s best players. He was talking about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge, when Immelman said pairings matter, even in off season events.

“When you are the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Immelman said. “They want to show this guy, `This is what I got.’”

A victory with Johnson in the field just two weeks after Johnson won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in an eight-shot rout will get the attention of all the elite players.

A victory also sets this up as a January for the ages, making it the kind of big-bang start the game has struggled to create in the shadow of the NFL playoffs.

Johnson put on a tour-de-force performance winning in Hawaii and the confident young Spaniard Jon Rahm is just a shot off the lead this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is just two off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open. Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines next week.

To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.

Yet another rising young talent, Thomas Pieters, shares the lead with Ross Fisher. Fleetwood is just two shots back and Johnson five back.

McIlroy has such a good history at Abu Dhabi. Over the last seven years, he has finished second four times and third twice. Still, even a strong finish that falls short of winning bodes well for McIlroy in his first start of the year.

“I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.

A strong start, whether he wins or not, sets McIlroy up well for the ambitious schedule he plans for 2018. He’s also scheduled to play the Dubai Desert Classic next with the possibility he’ll play 30 times this year, two more events than he’s ever played in a year.

“I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”

A victory Sunday will make all our heads spin a little b it with the exciting possibilities the game offers this year.

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Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.

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McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, five shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”