Carnoustie Claims First Victim

By September 21, 2005, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: The Big Break IV ' USA vs. Europe, is The Golf Channels fourth installment of its hit television series. As the title suggests however, this seasons format has been tweaked to include a team dynamic. But that in no way means the stakes arent high for each individual, as the 12 contestants will be vying for entry into select European Tour tournaments in 2006.
After an episode in which the U.S. and European teams got a chance to size each other up, the stakes were raised in episode 2 as co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks informed the men that someone would be eliminated at the end of the day.
Big Break IV
Thomas Blankvoort of team Europe watches in delight as his shot shatters the glass during the Mulligan Challenge.
Starting out with the glass breaking Mulligan Challenge, each team had six panes of glass, each with one of the team members name on it. In relay race-like fashion, each player had to step up and break his own pane, with the team who managed to break all the glass first being declared the winners.
Trouble quickly struck, however, for Team USA as Tommy Gainey struggled to keep his shots low enough to break the target. Struggle though, may not be a strong enough word, as the entire European team methodically stepped up and took care of business, leaving a frustrated and disappointed Gainey still up at the plate.
It made me feel bad, said Gainey on his inability to get the job done. I felt like I let my team down. And my country.
We took a kick in the butt again. I mean that was a big kick in the butt. And I hate getting beat, added T.J. Valentine about the lopsided affair.
It was now on the Immunity Challenge where whichever team prevailed would be spared from the first Elimination Challenge of The Big Break IV.
Stationed in a fairway bunker on the 18th hole at Carnoustie, each player had to play out the hole in as few a strokes as possible. The team with the highest aggregate total would then be forced toward elimination.
And once again, team USA dug itself in a hole early with some poorly executed shots from the bunker. Down three shots with three players still to play, Team USA couldnt make up the difference as the Europeans continued their steady, if not spectacular, play.
Everybody did what they could, trying to hit solid shots. But we as a team failed. It wasnt any one (in particular) failure, but a team, summed up David Carnell about the teams third straight defeat.
The Americans now had the dreaded task of going into the Elimination Challenge where a teammate was going to be sent off of the show.
After the Immunity Challenge it definitively became an individualistic game after that, said Randall Hunt on the sudden turn in the American teams mind set. It kinda went from a team camaraderie to, Hey, good luck in the challenge player.
Faced with three separate shots ' a bunker, chip and flop shot ' the players were given four attempts to land the their shot within a 10-foot radius around the hole. The player who took the most attempts combining all three of the shots would be eliminated.
Starting first with the bunker shot, only Gainey was able to hit it inside the circle on his first try. Valentine and Paul Holtby were home in two, followed by Carnell with three attempts. Bart Lower and Hunt both needed all four shots and were now in last place heading into Rd. 2.
The highest score was a four and I only had a one so I was feeling good, really good, at that point, said Gainey on his chances to be around for another show.
Using that confidence and facing the chip shot, Gainey promptly rolled his shot inside the circle, again on his first attempt.
He just stepped up, didnt even think about it, knocked it down like it was nothing, observed Carnell.
Big Break IV
For two-time Big Break participant Bart Lower, an early exit was assuredly not in his plans.
Holtby followed and also got it home in one, then watched as Lower got back into the mix by using a 3-wood from off the green to nestle his ball close on his first shot. Hunt, tied for last with Lower after Rd. 1, found the zone on his second attempt to keep his hopes alive.
I knew I was in last place so I needed to make something happen or I wasnt going to be sticking around for long, said Hunt.
It now fittingly came down to the flop shot, where Gainey continued his impressive run with yet another one and done shot, making a statement to both his teammates and the Euros.
Im not trying to brag or anything but I think Im the best player on the U.S. team, said Gainey.
The focus then shifted to just two players: Lower and Hunt.
Lower was first up between the two and hit what looked to be the perfect flop shot that would send Hunt packing. But the ball unfortunately hit the pin and kicked out of the target area, leaving Lower a little shaken. After over compensating on his next shot, Lower found the zone on his third attempt but in the process left the door open for Hunt.
If Hunt could nail his first shot, it would mean the end of the road for Lower.
Right now I can end it all with one shot. Lets make it happen, recalled Hunt.
Hunts shot over the bunker landed softly on the green and slowly rolled into the circle, leaving Lower for the second time in Big Break history on the outside looking in.
Im a normal guy with a normal job and a family, who always had big dreams of being a professional golfer, said an emotional Lower. Its almost the closing of a chapter into being a dad and a husband. Ill put the clubs away, again, for a while.
The Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe airs each Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET), while Big Break IV: All Access airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET), as part of the networks Top Shelf Wednesday lineup of premium programming.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.