Insight on Show 3 by Big Break’s Kelly Jacques

By Big Break ProducerOctober 23, 2014, 7:57 pm

Former Big Break Ireland competitor and LPGA/Symetra Tour professional Kelly Jacques is back to lend her insight on Big Break Myrtle Beach.  Each week, Kelly will give you her thoughts on that week’s show, including what the pressure is like, since she has been there before. She also will provide you with some behind-the-scenes info on the cast – Kelly has played alongside a few of them on the Symetra Tour the past few years.  While she has no knowledge of any results on the series, she will offer up thoughts on her favorites – and some non-favorites – on Big Break Myrtle Beach.  When not providing her Big Break commentary, Kelly works for, Golf Channel’s official online tee-times provider.

 Big Break Myrtle Beach: Episode 3

 The flop wall is here! Pair that with the rising tension and the contentious Anthony, you get an awesome third episode!

 The producers always change up this staple challenge to keep it interesting and keep the competitors on their toes. This season, they hit from a set distance, over the wall towards the pin and into a circle. If the player’s ball finishes inside the circle they earn 10 points. If they fail to do so they earn 0 points. Now here is where it gets interesting. The producers brought back the drama causing: In and Out Benches. While each player hits, the remaining players either sit on the “in” bench or the “out” bench, depending on if they think the player will hit it inside the circle or not. For every right answer each player will receive 2 points. The players with the highest four point totals will automatically move on to the next show, with the highest point total receiving $2,500 courtesy of Macanudo. I love these types of challenges that combine both skill and strategy.


Tessa was the first to hit and she nearly made it finishing just a few feet from the hole. Surprisingly, she was the ONLY player to successfully hit it inside the circle. A few epic fails were Anthony who had the quick and nervous chip resulting in a chunk; Katy H., who barely hit it over the wall; and Dave, who squarely hit the wall. Everyone took their time but Anthony, who literally walked up to the shot, barely set his feet and hit. This is an interesting approach when under pressure. I have a feeling that he isn’t as confident as he leads on. Tessa had the skill and also proved she’s smart too. She knew with a few players to go, no one could overtake her at the top position, as long as she mirrored Caroline’s picks. She did just that and secured the $2,500 cash. However, there was a playoff between Charlie and Toph to decide that 4th immunity spot. Anthony ruffled some more feathers by refusing to join the group while watching the playoff. I’m not so sure about his approach to this competition. I get his mentality that he is here to win, not make friends. However, making friends and having them on your side will always serve you well. It will be interesting to see if alienating himself will have a backlash. Charlie proceeded to hit a great shot inside the circle while Toph did not.  The golfers moving on to the next show are Tessa, Caroline, Katy H and Charlie. I am not surprised by these results, with the exception of Emily. With her impressive resume, including winning the USGA Amateur Public Links Championship, I’ve been surprised by her lack luster play thus far. I’m hoping she’ll settle down and start playing her game!

 Moving onto the second part of the immunity challenge, the players had to hit their 8-iron as close as possible to the pin from any distance over 90 yards. The first time around, the closest two players are immune. Meanwhile the remaining players have to hit the shot again, combining their two distances. After the second shots, the closest player is immune, while the player who has the worst distance is sent to elimination. Emily hit first from 148 yards and stuck it to 6’7”…finally…an impressive shot! What was more impressive was the yardage she chose…into the wind, she’s a beast! Another solid shot was posted by Christian who hit second from 162 yards to 10’5”. After that, the quality of golf was pretty poor…actually flat out horrible. Dave decided to hit from 160 yards even though he was hitting it 170 yards on the range. Result? 10 yards long. If he would have stuck with his yardage he would have been pin high. A bit of advice, play whatever game you bring to the course that day. Moving on, Katie hit a full 8-iron from 120 yards and came up short of the green. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and say she completely miss-hit it and there was a massive gust of wind…into her. Anthony continued his questionable play, as he decided to hit his 8 iron from 100 yards. This is such a high risk shot, and has to land the ball perfectly to get it close. He proceeded to block it right to 26’2”. Emily and Christian hit it the closest and got to watch the 2nd round from the bench. There is literally no better feeling on this show than knowing your safe and you can watch the others battle it out. The golf, in this 2nd round was even worse. Anthony hit from the same distance with the same result and Toph found himself in the last spot, securing his position in the elimination challenge by missing the green…again.

 Toph decided to choose Katie D to play against in elimination, solely because he’s buddies with Dave and Jimmy. See Anthony…having allies pays off! In this elimination challenge, the two players will face off in 4 locations. Each location has a set par, and in order to earn points, they have to hole out with a score of par or better. They started off with a 6’ straight in putt. Toph and Katie both drained it right in the center earning 1 point. Next was the chip. Katie has a very strong short game and it was no surprise that she almost made it. Toph hit it about 7 feet past but made a statement as he drained his come-back putt. Impressive! The third location was a 100 yard par 3 and both players made par, earning themselves 3 points. The final location was a 380-yard par-4 for Toph and a 323-yard hole for Katie. I don’t know what he was thinking, but Toph pulled driver, and blocked it dead right, losing it in the hazard. In my opinion, you need to just put the ball in play on this short hole. You don’t get anything extra for making birdie, so there is no reason to be aggressive here. Katie, being as straight as she is, hits driver right down the center. Katie hit her second to the back of the green and hit her lag putt to 5 feet. She had a chance to send Toph home but unfortunately blocked her putt and left it out right. This is so easy to do when you are nervous. Golfers tend to come up and out of their posture, resulting in the open putter face. I want to point out Toph’s amazing display of true sportsmanship. When Katie had 2 putts to win, you can hear him talking to her ball to get closer, and on her second putt he told it to get in. Toph, that is incredible. You won me over and I hope viewers took notice of that as well.

 Ok…playoff time, and this time around they’re playing stroke play! Knowing that he was just given a present, Toph pulls 3-wood and stripes it down the fairway and Katie of course joins him, in perfect position. Toph hit first and left it just short of the green while Katie pulled her 94-yard shot into the left green side bunker. She hit a great shot out and gave herself a chance to make par. Toph almost made his chip and tapped in. Katie’s putt looked fairly similar to her last putt just moment ago, but she did the same thing, leaving her putt out to the right securing her fate.

 Honestly no one can judge until they’ve been on Big Break and felt that pressure. A regular shot at a tournament can turn into the hardest shot of your life on Big Break. These competitors put their game to the test on TV, in order to make their dream a reality. Give credit to these players, it’s not as easy as it looks and this is their passion. For this exact reason, it’s always sad to see someone get eliminated. That feeling when you realize your Big Break experience has come to an end is definitely a sad one. I’m proud of Katie for holding her head high, playing with grace and keeping everything in perspective. She’s not a long hitter but she can definitely make that up with her short game. I know this experience will serve her well in the future, and I’m looking forward to seeing her smiling face down the road.

 Until next week!

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.