Its Down to Simple Arithmetic

By December 2, 2003, 5:00 pm
The Big BreakEditor's Note: The Golf Channel aired the ninth episode of its original series, The Big Break, Tuesday in which a group of scratch golfers vie in a weekly showdown of skills challenges. Each week one contestant will be eliminated until there is just one man left standing. That lucky winner will get the Big Break of his golfing career - exemptions into four Canadian Tour events airing on The Golf Channel in 2004.
As the show draws closer to its conclusion, it has become simple arithmetic ' easy as 1, 2, 3. One contestant would become the eventual winner; two episodes yet to be played out; and just three players remained.
And it was also obvious that the final threesome understood what was at stake, and the importance of the Canadian Tour exemptions awarded to the winner.
Ive been working my butt off trying to break through and get to that next level, and I think this experience is going to help me break through that barrier, said Justin Peters. The last three years have been a little rough being on the mini-tours, and I dont enjoy it there. I think this is really going to help.
With the wind and the rain continuing to assault the Treetops Resort in northern Michigan, the players had to ignore the elements and try to focus on the days first skills challenge, which was to test the their abilities from 100 yards and in.
Each player would hit a wedge shot from four separate distances ' 40 yards, 55 yards, 70 yards and 85 yards ' to a pin on the green. The player that had the shortest total distance from the pin after all four shots would win the mulligan and a 46-inch Sony television.
After each player hit their first three wedge shots, Craig Pawling had twice overshot the pin to distances that took him out of the running for the mulligan. That left only Anthony Sorentino and Peters to do battle on the final shot - the 40 yard approach.
Justin Peters wedge playI had to hit first and it was a scary little shot because most 40 yard shots are hard, especially in those conditions, recalled Peters, whose subsequent shot finished 14 feet 7 inches from the hole.
Sorentino needed to get inside 12 feet to snatch away the prizes from Peters, but a self-admitted 'nervous swing' caused his final attempt to fly well past the pin, giving Justin the win.
With his mulligan in tow, Peters and the other two competitors made their way to the elimination challenge where the old saying drive for show, putt for dough would be quite evident.
Each player had to hit a total of six putts from a circle surrounding the hole. Each 8-foot putt would be hit from a different position, with the players holing out their turn. The player with the highest score would then be eliminated.
Winning tournaments comes down to putting. You dont win tournaments without making crucial putts, without putting well, said Peters. I thought it was a great challenge.
Its not cool. Ive been putting terrible and I wasnt fired up, countered a half-kidding Sorentino about the challenge.
After both Pawling and Sorentino made opening 2s, Peters applied some early pressure by knocking down his first attempt for a 1 and the lead.
Sorentino quickly answered at the second, holing out from the eight foot circle as Peters and Pawling posted 2s.
None of the trio were able to hole a putt on their next three attempts as they struggled to read the break and speed in the soggy conditions.
We had a different type of putt on each hole ' uphill, downhill, left to right, right to left, spoke Peters afterwards.
Craig Pawling just missed outIt was now down to the final putt and Pawling needed to hole his to tie things up and force a playoff. But his left to right putt slid by the hole and suddenly he was on the outside looking in, setting up a final episode showdown between Peters and Sorentino.
It hurts to see someone have to go, said Sorentino. It hurts because he was a super nice guy.
Im going to be drawing on a lot of images, thoughts and feelings I had from here this week, said the departing Pawling. And I really want to thank everyone for the opportunity. It was awesome.
Be sure to tune in next week for the dramatic conclusion of The Big Break. The Golf Channel will air a special 3-hour finale beginning Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.
The two remaining contestants will battle head-to-head in a match play round to determine who will walk away with the grand prize - four exemptions on the 2004 Canadian Tour. The program will feature a live in-studio contestant reunion and the unveiling of The Big Break champion. Following the broadcast, an additional hour will be dedicated to viewer calls and emails.
Related Links:
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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.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."