Before the ladies could realize it, their group had quickly been reduced to six. And in the opening Mulligan Challenge, quickness was again a key component as speed golf was brought to the table.
The team that finished the hole in the least amount of time would win a mulligan to be used in the Skills Challenge.
Jan Dowling led off for Team 1 and hit a solid tee shot down the left side of the fairway which Liz Uthoff chased down. Her subsequent approach to the green left Pam Crikelair just 15 feet from the cup. She swiftly two putted for a time of just 1 minute and 5 seconds.
It wasnt just an individual thing as we all had to work together, stated Uthoff on her teams solid opening performance.
Team 2 then stepped up with Danielle Amiee hitting her drive a bit short off the tee to Valeria Ochoa, who at that time had to backpedal to enable her to hit the approach. Without enough club to reach the green Ochoas attempt came up a bit short causing the anchor leg, Cindy Miller, to have to chip up to the putting surface. She also two-putted but it was not, however, enough to beat out Team 1, who claimed the Mulligan.
We were excited to win it because we knew it was going to be an advantage, because the Skills Challenge was becoming more and more imperative to win, said Dowling on her teams good fortune.
The Skills Challenge had the ladies hitting at three different sized targets from 85 yards out, with each target holding a different point value. The biggest target was worth 5 points, the medium was good for 10 and the smallest of the three counted for 20 points. The ladies would each get seven shots ' five to start and then two more in the second round - and the one who accumulated the most points would win the exemption and automatically advance to the next show.
Uthoff started strong by aiming at the 5 point target and racked up 15 points to claim the early lead. Her lead was safe until Miller posted two 10 points shots to raise the tally to 20 points as they headed into Round 2. Ochoa and Crikelair both scored to pull even with Miller at 20 points apiece. Again, with Miller going last, she landed her ball safely in the 10 point zone and was relieved to win immunity until the shows next episode.
Co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks then led the remaining five contestants to the dreaded Elimination Challenge to lay out the rules.
Each of the remaining fivesome had to hit shots from three distances ' 180 yards, 170 yards and 160 yards ' into a circle that was painted on the green. Points would be accumulated based on the number of attempts taken from each distance. The person with the highest point total after all three distances combined would be eliminated.
You want to win the mulligan because its important. You really want to win that Skills Challenge because that will save you for the rest of the day, said Crikelair. But the only goal throughout the day is dont lose the elimination.
From the next distance of 170 yards things suddenly got more interesting as Dowling, Ochoa and Uthoff all struggled to find the target and found themselves, along with Crikelair, on the hot seat. It was now down to the final distance to see who was staying and who would be taking a golf cart home.
Uthoff soon joined Amiee and Miller as locks for the next show with a timely approach that found the target. She then watched as Ochoa knocked one stiff to also remain alive.
It was now down to Dowling and Crikelair. After watching Dowling continue her struggles, Crikelair had one shot ' just one ' to make it happen.
I was nervous to watch it but I wanted to see what happened, recalled Dowling about the final swing that would either force a playoff or keep her on the show.
With the remaining contestants all looking on, Crikelair proved to be up for the challenge as she stuck her iron approach into the target to force a playoff between the two.
The first playoff round again came out even and they moved into a second round of sudden death elimination.
Crikelair made the most of it this time around as she nailed the target with her first shot. The pressure now had shifted squarely onto the shoulders of Dowling. It turned out to be too much as she watched her shot sail long and left resulting in her elimination from the show.
I just love what golf teaches you. How it tests you in every way possible and how you learn more about yourself every time you play golf, said the departing Dowling. I would have loved to keep going but I didnt pull off the shots when I needed to.
It was awesome to have this opportunity because I wanted to do it and that I know that I can, said an emotional Dowling. I feel like Im ready to do it. I just have to wait for that one day where I do. And I think when that happens, Im good to go.
Be sure to tune in next Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET) when the final five ladies try to cope with the ever-increasing pressures and then face one of the most dramatic Elimination Challenges in Big Break history.