Final Four Battle For Three Spots

By November 23, 2004, 5:00 pm
Big Break II LogoEditors Note: The Golf Channel aired the eighth episode of The Big Break II Tuesday night, where 10 highly skilled golfers compete to win an opportunity to play in four Nationwide Tour events televised on The Golf Channel in 2005.

With the show now reduced to just four players, the group was informed that they would be heading to the beach for this weeks skills challenge. Except this challenge was anything but a day at the beach.

In the challenge each contestant had to hit a greenside bunker shot with the player whose shot lands furthest away being removed from the rest of the skills challenge. From there, the remaining three would attempt a 50-yard bunker shot with the same consequences, until the final two got a crack at a 150-yard bunker shot. The last man standing would receive an exemption from the elimination round and the added luxury of staying in Sin City for at least one more night.

The elder statesman of the group, John Turk, was out first, getting beaten by a mere inch on the opening shot. Next, Kip Henley was ousted after his kinda awful 50-yard sand shot came to rest some 36 feet away from the pin.

Thats probably the toughest shot in golf, said Don Donatello about the 50-yard shot.

The Big Break IIThat left just Donatello and Bart Lower to battle it out for immunity from the elimination challenge and also a little something extra that co-host Rick Smith had thrown in. The player coming closest to the flag not only would win the skills challenge but also have a chance to sink the ensuing putt for a two-year lease on a brand new Ford 500.

Lowers shot finished 26 feet from the pin, leaving Donatello a sizable opening for the win.

When Bart hit it like 25 feet from the hole I thought I could still beat him, recalled Donatello on his chances. It was right at the flagstick but short. I mean I hit it perfect. I thought it was going to go in!

But well short it was, leaving Lower a chance to come away with the car. His putt, however, drifted left and never really scared the hole.

Another afternoon off just kickin back and watching the boys sweat it out, said Lower on his invaluable exemption. Just one more. Give me just one more (exemption) and Ill be good to go and that will get me into the finals.

The Top-Flite mulligan challenge had the remaining threesome try to make the best poker hand by hitting at giant targets 30-yards away that looked like a ten, jack, queen, king or ace from a deck of cards. The person with the best hand after seven shots won the mulligan.

Showing a strong short game, Turk dealt himself quite the hand, coming through with five jacks. Ultimately though it was Henley who came up aces in the challenge, as he too collected five of a kind, only his five aces trumped Turks five jacks.

It was finally on to the stress-filled elimination round where one unlucky contestant was destined to be forced off of the show.

The format was simple in that it was pure golf. All three would play a regulation golf hole and the player with the low score would be safe from elimination.

On the first hole, both Donatello and Henley faced short birdie putts that would spell doom for Turk. Donatello, however, was the only one to capitalize on the situation, rolling in his putt to join Lower on the sidelines to watch as Turk and Henley began a mano-a-mano duel.

I hit just a great putt. I clinched my fist in excitement because I want people to know that this means a lot to me, said Donatello about his reaction to his all-important putt.

The Big Break IIAfter each made pars on the second hole of the elimination round, Turk pulled out driver and pushed his tee shot well right, landing in an adjacent fairway. Seeing his opponent in trouble, Henley wisely hit an iron off the tee and left himself with a manageable approach shot.

Turk proceeded to fly his approach over the green, and then chipped on leaving himself a tricky, breaking putt to try and stave off elimination. With Henley in with a par, Turk left his first putt well short and was unable to knock in the par putt, thus sending himself off the show and out of Las Vegas.

I said, You know what? Youve had a good run but its done. That was it, bye-bye, said Turk on his last hurrah. I wish them all the best, everybody that participated. Ive enjoyed the friendships that Ive made and Ive made some friendships for the long term.

Be sure to watch The Golf Channel every Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET), as the race for the four Nationwide Tour exemptions comes down to the final three contestants on The Big Break 2.
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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

    After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

    Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

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    Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

    The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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    LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

    The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

    The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

    The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

    The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.