First Week First Elimination

By February 7, 2006, 5:00 pm
The Big Break V - HawaiiWell the girls are back and better than ever, as the fifth edition of The Golf Channels Big Break series got under way, this time finding they had been whisked all the way to paradise, to the Islands of Aloha.
 
At the spectacular Turtle Bay Resort on the island of Oahu to be exact, with the 11 competitors set to battle one another for the chance of winning a coveted exemption into the LPGA Tours Safeway Classic in August. The winner would also receive a Bridgestone contract, a Chrysler Crossfire car, and a developmental package that will cover traveling expenses and entrance fees into Futures Tour events.
 
The Big Break V
Former U.S. Women's Amateur champion Becky Lucidi is dead on with her shot at breaking the glass.
After the ladies had a chance to meet each other over Pina Coladas and Mai Tais by the beach, they were treated to a welcoming luau show complete with hula and fire dancers.
 
The sun was setting and it was just perfect. And then we had two hot Hawaiian guys come out and dance and it was just great, said teaching professional Jo D. Duncan, on her welcome to Hawaii.
 
The smiles, however, quickly turned to looks of anxiety as co-host Vince Cellini informed the ladies that amidst all their excitement someone was going to be eliminated from the show the very next day. It was the first time in Big Break history that a competitor was to be sent packing following the first day of golf challenges.
 
The next morning, with the waves from Oahus north shore crashing nearby, the ladies nervously gathered in front of the Big Breaks signature rock to see what was in store for the day.
 
They would begin with the challenge that has become synonymous with the Big Break series: breaking glass frames. Co-host Stephanie Sparks joined Cellini in telling the 11 competitors that whoevers pane was the last to be broken would win the first exemption into the following show. From there, they would move on to two more challenges until one unlucky contestant would be saying their quick goodbyes from paradise.
 
Everyone got a little bit more focused and a little more serious, remarked Nikki DiSanto from California. Because everybody wants to win.
 
Whats the first thing you dont want to do on the first day ' go home, added another competitor bracing for the days events.
 
As the sound of glass shattering began to pick up, several girls fell by the wayside and a few players started to take things a bit personally.
 
Oh, theres a bunch of women ' theres bound to be cat fights, noted Katie Ruhe, herself a Futures Tour player.
 
Jo D. suddenly got hot and quickly turned it into a two woman race between herself and Becky Lucidi, a former U.S. Womens Amateur champ. Jo D. couldnt however finish the deal and watched as Lucidi turned the tables and broke the final frame to claim the first spot in the next show.
 
With 10 players remaining, the ladies moved on to a long drive challenge that featured five two-player showdowns ' each player taking only one shot apiece - with the five winners gaining exemptions.
 
I was more nervous on that shot than I was during LPGA Q-School, said Ruhe about her nerve-racking but ultimately successful tee shot in the long drive challenge.
 
She wasnt alone in feeling the anxiety, as a few of the girls couldnt keep the ball in play and failed to win exemptions. It was now down to five players fighting for four spots in a short game challenge.
 
The Big Break V
Jo D. Duncan couldn't capitalize on an early hot streak and became the first lady ousted from paradise.
The more it got closer to the elimination the more it just got so hard - I starting getting down on myself, said Divina Delasin, sister of LPGA Tour star Dorothy. I didnt want to go home, but I might have to.
 
With the short game challenge, the players had two designated areas from which to hit a shot. The player closest to the pin on the first shot would win instant immunity and move on, with play continuing until it came down to the final three.
 
Kristina Tucker of Sweden nestled her attempt from the first area to within three feet and happily was safe from elimination.
 
Delasin followed Tucker onto the next show with her clutch pitch at the second leaving just three competitors ' Duncan, DiSanto and Dana Lacey from Australia.
 
The final challenge of the day to see who stayed and who was sent packing, had the trio play one hole of sudden death ' highest score goes home.
 
Unfortunately I drew No. 1 again. Super intimidating tee shot, so I was not happy about that, at all, said DiSanto on the order of play in the sudden death.
 
All three were safe off the tee, but only Duncan and Lacey found the green on their approach shots. DiSanto, from well off the green, recovered well knocking her pitch to 4 feet. Lacey rolled her birdie putt to within 5 feet, while Duncan too was a bit tentative with her birdie effort, leaving herself about 6 feet short. Duncan fired first and missed, then watched as Lacey calmly rolled home her par putt to guarantee herself a spot on the next show. DiSanto then had a putt to join the others but pushed her effort to the right to set up another sudden death playoff hole with Duncan.
 
Im a little frustrated with myself and when I get mad at myself I tend to get even a little more tense, said DiSanto on the pressure of the sudden death playoff.
 
Both competitors were safe off the tee although Duncans ball did not travel the distance she wanted, forcing her to hit a long iron approach over water guarding the front of the green. Luckily, her approach barely flew the hazard.
 
I didnt catch it as much as I liked (her second shot) and almost ended the show right there, recalled Duncan.
 
DiSanto's following approach drifted left, coming to rest just off the left edge of the green. Both players then hit somewhat poor chip shots, Duncan leaving herself a good 18 feet form the hole and DiSanto to about 10 feet.
 
Duncan's putt for par again came up short, setting the stage for her competitor. DiSanto took her time to line up the putt, then calmly rolled in the winner to stave off elimination.

It was absolutely shocking. You dont ever expect to lose but when it happens, it catches you off guard, said the departing Duncan. This was way more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I never had my heart beat so many times in my throat.
 
The Big Break V: Hawaii airs each Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET), while Big Break V: 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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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.