Big Shot Big Disappointment

By February 23, 2005, 5:00 pm
The Big Break IIIEditors note: The Golf Channels Big Break III ' Ladies Only is the third installment of this hit television series. As the title suggests however, this season is just for the ladies. The 10 contestants will be vying for entry into select LPGA tournaments, including the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill.
With the first player already eliminated from the show, the following morning was a bit of a wake up call, both literally and figuratively.
It all kind of sunk in, said Debbie Dahmer, about the absence of Tasha Browner at the breakfast table. Every morning there is going to be one less chair here.
In the days first event, the Mulligan Challenge, co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks had the ladies split up into three teams of three. With scoring circles painted around the pin, each team spun a wheel to determine which of five different short game shots ' greenside bunker, pitch shot, under a tree, long bunker shot or downhill lie - they would have to attempt.
The team that won the challenge would all receive a mulligan in the upcoming Skills Challenge.
The team of Valeria Ochoa, Liz Uthoff and Felicia Brown went first had to hit from a downhill lie over a bunker from about 15 yards off the green. With each player attempting two shots, Team 1 tallied a total of 10 points.
Next up was the team of Jan Dowling, Sarah Sasse, and Pam Crikelair who faced a greenside bunker shot. As a team, they amassed 12 points and then had to watch to see if the score would hold up.
Next up was the team of Cindy Miller, Debbie Dahmer and Danielle Amiee. Down to their last shot and behind by just a single point, Millers pitch shot finished up in the middle target area, good enough for two points and the victory.
These mulligans are huge and I just lost two mulligans for my teammates, said Sasse about coming up empty in her two efforts. I felt so bad.
Next, it was on to the Skills Challenge where the winner would be exempt from the shows second Elimination Challenge.
The contestants were asked to hit three tee shots in an effort to reach a landing area that measured 30 yards by 30 yards down the fairway. The player then had the opportunity to hit however many balls that came to rest in the landing area ' whether that be one, two, or three ' to the green.
Ultimately, the player closest to the pin would be granted immunity from the Elimination Challenge.
After all nine contestants attempted their drives, two of the players - Crikelair and Sasse - were able to hit the grid on all three shots, while three of the players hit it twice and four players only found the landing area once.
My confidence is a little lower than it should be, said Crikelair on her overall lack of experience. So to put three in (the landing area), that really felt good.
It was at this time, however, that Crikelair was about to turn the tables on the shows producers and supply a little twist of her own. Not to mention give herself a huge shot of the self confidence she thought she was lacking.
Using a short iron from the fairway, Crikelair ' the first player to hit her approach shots ' left her opening attempt well short and then sent her second flying over the pin. She was down to her final approach shot.
I said OK, It would be such a shame if you put three great tee shots in the grid and didnt even put pressure on the next person, said Crikelair on her final approach.
As her last shot sailed through the air toward the green, several of the players later recalled that they thought the ball would come up short and indeed it did ' by about a foot, before releasing and spinning right and into the cup.
That was her first ever eagle, marveled Dahmer, on what is being hailed as the best shot in Big Break history. To do it when the cameras are rolling, no one will ever be able to take that away from her.
It was great to hit the shot of my short career with the girls there watching, said an excited Crikelair. It made a statement to some of the women. Even though Im new, I can still compete and give you a run for your money.
With Crikelairs ball resting in the hole, the rest of the ladies tried to achieve another miracle shot, but predictably no one could duplicate the shot giving Crikelair the well-deserved immunity.
It was now down to the Elimination Challenge where the contestants would each be asked to hit an approach shot from 170-yards out. The two closest to the pin would be safe from elimination while the final six would move on to hit a shot from the fairway rough. The two closest from there also would move on to the next show. The last four would then proceed to hit a long bunker shot, the one furthest from the hole becoming the shows second causality.
Dahmers pressurized approach nestled up to within 6 feet of the hole, good enough to advance to the next show with Sasse, whose effort also found close range.
From the 110-yards out from the right rough, both Uthoff and Aimee struck fine wedge shots as they too were able to stave off elimination. It was now down to the final four to see who was going home.
From the fairway bunker, Brown started things off by hitting her shot thin from the sand and watched as it flew the green and into a bunker ' 56 feet from the hole. Dowling then stepped up and smoothed her attempt to within 15 feet of the cup, thus moving on to the next day. Ochoa, hitting third, caught a little too much sand and found her effort well short of the green, then waited nervously for the measurement ' 46 feet.
Cindy Miller was last and now stood in the sand holding both her and Browns fate in her hands.
Im glad I was last, but then I thought that I had all the pressure on me again, said Miller. But thats a good thing. In needed to be a big girl, suck it up and hit a golf shot.
Miller shot was true, landing on the front of the green and leaving Brown the odd lady out.
When they called me and said I had a chance to live my dream, that was a dream come true, said an emotional Brown. One chance. Thats all I have ever asked for.
Be sure to tune in next Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET) to see who can survive the rollercoaster ride and whose dream will come to an end.
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    Stenson leads strong cast of Bay Hill contenders

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 11:38 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Henrik Stenson has a tortured history here at Bay Hill, a collection of close calls that have tested his mettle and certainly his patience.

    Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational won’t get any easier. Not with a course that is already firm and fast and fiery, just the way the King would have wanted it. And not with 13 players within five shots of the lead, a group that includes Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and, yes, even Tiger Woods.

    Without his best stuff Saturday, Stenson still managed to edge ahead of Bryson DeChambeau to take a one-shot lead heading into the final round. It’s familiar territory for the Swede, who posted four consecutive top-10s here from 2013-16, including a few agonizing near-misses.

    Three years ago, Stenson appeared on his way to victory when he was put on the clock on the 15th hole. Rattled, he three-putted the next two holes and lost by a stroke. The following year, he was tied for the lead with three holes to play, then hit it in the water on 16 and bogeyed two of the last three holes.

    “It wouldn’t be the only tournament where you feel like you’ve got some unfinished business,” Stenson said, “but I’ve been up in the mix a few times and we’re here again, so of course I would like to see a different outcome.”

    What will be interesting Sunday is whether history repeats itself.

    Neither Stenson nor DeChambeau is quick-paced, with DeChambeau even acknowledging that he’s one of the game’s most methodical players, stepping off pitch shots and checking (and re-checking) his reads on the green. With so much at stake, it’s not a stretch to imagine both players grinding to a halt on a course that got “crusty” in the late-afternoon sun.

    “We’ve got a lot of guys behind me,” DeChambeau said, “so I’ve got to go deep tomorrow.”

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

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    The 24-year-old earned his breakthrough victory last July at the John Deere Classic, but that was one hot week as he tried to play his way out of a slump.

    Even this week’s performance was unexpected, after he withdrew from the Valspar Championship because of a balky back.

    Last weekend he underwent an MRI (clean), didn’t touch a club for three days and showed up here cautiously optimistic. His ball-striking hasn’t suffered at all – in fact, he’s ranked fifth in strokes gained-tee to green – and now he’s relishing the chance to take on some of the game’s biggest names.

    “Whatever happens,” he said, “it’s going to be a great learning experience.”

    Of the 13 players within five shots of the lead, 10 are Tour winners. That includes McIlroy, whose putter has finally come alive, and Rose, who shot a third-round 67 to move within three shots, and Fowler, whose game is finally rounding into form, and also Woods, who has won a record eight times at Bay Hill. 

    Even if he doesn’t pick up a pre-Masters victory – he’s five shots back, the same deficit he erased here in 2009 – Woods has showed flashes of his old self at one of his favorite playgrounds, whether it’s the blistered 2-irons off the tee, the daring approach shots or the drained 40-footers.

    “I’ve got a chance,” he said.

    And so do the rest of the major champions and PGA Tour winners assembled near the top of the leaderboard.

    It should be a wild final round at Arnie’s Place – even if Stenson, for once, is hoping for a drama-free Sunday.

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    DeChambeau uses big words to describe back injury

    By Will GrayMarch 17, 2018, 11:24 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Bryson DeChambeau needed just 30 seconds of explaining the state of his lower back to send the media center at the Arnold Palmer Invitational spinning.

    DeChambeau shot an even-par 72 in the third round at Bay Hill, and he will start the final round one shot behind Henrik Stenson as he looks to win for the second time in his young PGA Tour career. DeChambeau’s strong play this week comes in the wake of his decision to withdraw from last week’s Valspar Championship because of a bad back.

    DeChambeau is no stranger to new vocabulary words or adopting a scientific take on matters, and it was when he delved into the details of his injury that things got interesting.

    “It was because my quadratus lumborum wasn’t working. My iliacus, longissimus thoracis, they were all kind of over-working if you want to get technical on that,” DeChambeau said. “But they weren’t working very well, and I overworked them. Pretty much my lower right back was hurting and I rested it. How about that?”

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

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    DeChambeau tied for fifth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last month, but he has struggled to find results in the weeks since. One of the keys to a quick recovery between Innisbrook and Bay Hill was some time on the couch this past weekend and a binge session of The Walking Dead on Netflix.

    “I literally didn’t do anything, and that’s really the first time I’ve done that in my entire life. I’ve never actually taken three days off where I didn’t touch a club,” DeChambeau said. “So that was unique for me and actually took me some time to acclimate to that, my body to get comfortable to get in a rested state. And then once it was finally able to rest, it healed a little bit and I was able to make a run for it this week.”

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    Woods fielding Masters practice-round requests

    By Will GrayMarch 17, 2018, 10:50 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Heading into what is likely his final competitive round before the Masters, Tiger Woods is starting to set up his schedule for the days leading into the season’s first major.

    Woods has won the Masters four times, most recently in 2005, and in the wake of a runner-up at the Valspar Championship and a strong showing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational he’ll head down Magnolia Lane with more momentum than he’s had in years. As a result, it’s not surprising that he has received more than a few inquiries about a possible practice round at Augusta National Golf Club during Masters week.

    “I’ve gotten a couple requests here and there,” Woods said with a grin after a third-round 69 at Bay Hill.

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    Woods has played the Masters only once since 2014, but don’t expect him to try out some unfamiliar pairings on Tuesday and Wednesday amid the azaleas. Woods still plans to rely on a rotation he’s had for several years, playing with former champs Fred Couples and Mark O’Meara. O’Meara, who received his green jacket from Woods in 1998, plans to make this year his final Masters start.

    “I traditionally have played with Freddie, if he can. We’re hoping he can come back and play again and play Augusta. I’ve played with Mark just about every single year,” Woods said. “It’s generally been those two guys, and those are the two guys I’ve grown up with out here on Tour. We sit next to each other actually at the champions’ dinner, and so we have known each other for a very long time.”

    While Woods is no stranger to fielding offers for tips and advice from younger players, especially on a course he knows as well as Augusta National, one top-ranked name continues to stick out among the requests he’s received in recent weeks.

    “Just the normal JT (Justin Thomas),” Woods said. “He’s always trying to get some practice rounds in.”

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    Stenson one clear of loaded leaderboard at Bay Hill

    By Nick MentaMarch 17, 2018, 10:10 pm

    Four of the top 15 players in the world and two men with stellar amateur resumes will do battle Sunday to win Arnold Palmer Invitational. Here’s how things look through 54 holes at Bay Hill, where Tiger Woods sits five back at 7 under par.

    Leaderboard: Henrik Stenson (-12), Bryson DeChambeau (-11), Rory McIlroy (-10), Justin Rose (-9), Ryan Moore (-9), Charley Hoffman (-8), Rickie Fowler (-8), Talor Gooch (-8), Ben An (-8)

    What it means:  For the second straight day, Stenson (71) will go off in the final pairing with DeChambeau (72), after both players failed to separate themselves from the field in Round 3, shooting a combined 1 under. Stenson really should have a win at Bay Hill by now. He finished in the top-10 four years in a row from 2013-2016, with three top-5s. The closest he came to victory was in 2015, when he lost to Matt Every by one shot after being put on the clock and three-putting the 15th and 16th greens. If he’s finally going to close the deal Sunday, the world No. 15 will need to hold off challenges from three of the top 13 players in the OWGR – No. 5 Rose, No. 7 Fowler and No. 13 McIlroy – and two men who won both the NCAA individual championship and the U.S. Amateur – DeChambeau and Moore.

    Round of the day: John Huh and Austin Cook both made the 1-over cut on the number and shot 66 Saturday to move into a tie for 18th at 5 under.

    Best of the rest: McIlroy, Rose and Jason Day (-5) all signed for 67. McIlroy remains in search of his first worldwide win since he walked away from East Lake with the Tour Championship and the FedExCup in 2016.

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    Biggest disappointment: Fowler was 11 under for the week but dropped three shots in his last two holes. He failed to get up and down from the front bunker at 17 and then had his ball almost fully bury in the lip of a greenside trap at 18. With only a small portion of the ball visible, Fowler took two to get out of the sand and two-putted his way to a double-bogey 6, dropping him to 2 under for the day and 8 under for the championship.

    Shot of the day: Woods’ 210-yard 5-iron from the fairway bunker at the par-5 16th:

    Quote of the day: "I'm going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow, and probably get a little bit of help. But my responsibility is to go out there and shoot a low one first." – Woods