Dream Becomes Reality

By December 9, 2003, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: The Golf Channel aired the final episode of its original series, The Big Break, Tuesday in which a group of scratch golfers vied in a weekly showdown of golf skills challenges. Each week one contestant was eliminated.

One by one theyve been eliminated. Each week a dream being dashed, until just two men were left standing. And although there was still one more dream to go unfulfilled, this was finally the moment that one players dream would be realized, earning the Big Break of his golfing career.

So after nine weeks, 10 golfers and countless skills and elimination challenges, things became quite simple between the shows final contestants Anthony Sorentino and Justin Peters. Two players squaring off in an 18-hole match play situation. No more offbeat challenges, just pure golf, mano-a-mano.

It is the same type of feeling as if you are tied for the lead going into the final round of a tournament. You have a chance to win. The ball is in your court. You gotta go out and perform, said Peters about the final show.

It has been a while since I have had that feeling. I love that feeling because it is the position you want to be in. You want to have a chance to win on the last day. Whether it is a four-day tournament or a ten series skills challenge like this. Anything...you always want to be at the end having the chance to come down the stretch and close the deal and be the one on top.

Anthony tees offAs the players stepped up to the tee box on the first hole both did their best to keep their nerves in check, but their tee shots predictably found the right rough.

We both looked a little shaky at the start, obviously, because we knew what was at stake, recalled Peters, whose resulting bogey turned out to be good enough to halve the hole.

Each player halved the second before Peters rolled in a birdie putt on the third to take a 1-up lead.

A remarkable recovery by Peters from the greenside rough on the par-4 fourth kept Sorentino from squaring the match after three holes.

I thought I was going to steal the hole though, said Anthony. He made a great four. So I was bummed out about that. A four or three I thought would get me the hole and he made a clutch four to stay 1-up.

After a couple of pars at next hole, Sorentino finally broke through by rolling in a tricky 20-foot birdie putt at the 7th to even the match and regain some confidence.

I finally started hitting good shots, said Anthony. It was a hard putt and it dropped. So that was cool. It kind of got me rolling a little bit. And less fear of the speed of the greens.

Sorentino then had another chance to keep the momentum going his way but his birdie at the par-3 eighth finished just shy of the hole leaving the match even.

At the par-4 ninth, both players hit beautiful approach shots into the green resulting in a pair of birdies sending the two to the back nine all square.

Both players found trouble off the tee at the 10th, although Peters got the short end of the stick as his ball was nestled down in knee high rough. As he attempted to hit his recovery shot, he heard a popping noise in his wrist and could only fear the worse.

It really scared me. I mean, there were a million thoughts going through my head. As soon as I felt something pop I looked down and it just looked funny to me. I just started getting dizzy. It felt funny, recalled Peters on the situation. Then all of the sudden in my head I am thinking what am I going to do if I broke something in here. I need to make money playing next week to pay my bills. I cant get a job in time to be able to pay my mortgage.

With the help of a makeshift ice pack, Peters overcame the wrist injury to again make an out of this world up and down to keep the match even in what could have been the turning point of the contest.

From there, each player took turns in winning the next two holes with pars, leaving the match even as they strode to the 13th tee. This time however, it was Sorentino who created some trouble for himself by pushing his drive into the forcing him to tee up a second ball. He eventually conceded the hole giving Peters a slim lead once again.

One of the officials said that it hit a tree and bounced in, said Sorentino. I looked for it for a minute but I really didnt want to find it. I mean, my provisional is in the middle of the fairway. I pretty much just thought that hole was his anyway unless I threw a dart.

The players halved the 14th and moved on to the par-5 15th where Peters wondered where the match was headed.

Nobody wanted to take control it seemed like. Every time I felt like I was taking control I gave him one back the next hole. Then he wins a hole and then he would give me one back, Peters noted about the ebb and flow of match play. Its definitely an emotional grind.

Justin and AnthonyA perfect drive and an equally impressive 7-iron left Peters with a 12-foot eagle putt which was eventually conceded as Sorentino struggled to find the green in regulation.

On the par-4 16th each player left their approach shots well short of the pin and halved the hole after both two-putted.

Sorentino was now 2-down with two to play and needed to win the par-3 17th to stay alive. He pulled his tee shot left as Peters safely reach the green. A miracle shot from out of the bunker and under a tree failed to find the cup suddenly giving Peters the match and The Big Break.

Its been quite an experience, an experience I will always remember, said an elated Peters. To be part of the first golf reality type show like this with 10 different personalities. To be part of this huge production and to go and win the whole thing. I mean its something special. It something that I will always cherish. It hasnt really soaked in yet but I am sure once it airs and once everything soaks in, its going to be one of the greatest accomplishments I will probably ever achieve, especially to this point.
Related Links:
  • The Big Break Home
  • Airtimes for The Big Break
  • Discussion Boards - Talk about the show
  • Video - Watch Justin Peters' winner interview
  • Video - Watch Anthony Sorentino's exit interview
  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.

    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.

    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.

    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.

    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”