Ladies Begin Fight to Stave Off Elimination

By February 16, 2005, 5:00 pm
The Big Break IIIEditors note: The Golf Channels Big Break III ' Ladies Only is the third installment of this hit television series. As the title suggests however, this season is just for the ladies. The 10 contestants will be vying for entry into select LPGA tournaments, including the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill.
With their nerves racing and tensions high, the ladies started off the day by battling it out in their first Mulligan Challenge. The winner would be granted an all-important mulligan that could be used strategically during the Skills Challenge.
Unlike the previous two Big Break series, the ladies would be playing for the mulligan before playing the Skills Challenge. The winner of the Skills Challenge would then be granted immunity from the dreaded Elimination Challenge.
Everyone here has a great amount of talent, said 41-year-old Debbie Dahmer. Its not a lack of talent that is going to eliminate the first player.
The Mulligan Challenge had the group hitting two wedge shots from around 100-yards out. The two players with the lowest total distance from the pin would move on to a putt off and the winner there would grab the mulligan.
But before a single shot could be fired, the first surprise of the day came when LPGA Tour stars Kelli Kuehne and Lori Kane strolled up to the hitting area to show the ladies how its done.
I was so extremely nervous, said Pam Crikelair. The first event, the first day and then all of sudden I had to follow Kelli Kuehne off the tee. I was even more nervous.
After each contestant hit their tee shots, roommates Jan Dowling and Liz Uthoff had the best two scores and proceeded to the putting green. Kuehne went first to give the pair a good look at the break, but with the rain beginning to come down neither could capitalize on the first putt. A second miss by Dowling opened the door for Uthoff and she drained the putt and seized the mulligan.
With Mother Nature really letting loose with the rain and cold, the ladies made their way to the Skills Challenge. The name of the game was uneven lies, with each player hitting a shot from below their feet and a shot above their feet.
It definitely added an element of difficulty to each shot, said the groups youngest contestant Sarah Sasse, from Lincoln, Neb.
As each player finished hitting their shots, the winning distance kept getting smaller and smaller until Tasha Browner set the pace with a total of 19 feet 4 inches.
Any chance that I might be able to pull something out it was right now. I gotta see what Im capable of, said Browner about her mark. I did everything I could do to put myself in contention.
But alas, the winning distance didnt hold up for very long, as former LPGA Tour player Cindy Miller topped it with an impressive total of just 13 feet 7 inches. The Skills Challenge victory gave Miller the shows first immunity as she would survive to see another day.
Of course nobody wants to be eliminated and nobody wants to be eliminated on the first day, said the much relieved Miller. That was just a nightmare. I was like, Thank you Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks then led the remaining nine contestants to the final challenge of the day, the anxiety-ridden Elimination Challenge.
Everybody went from talking and having a good time to almost silence, recalled Dowling on the immediate mood swing of the players.
In the Elimination Challenge, the strength of the players short game was again being put at a premium, as each would have three shots from three different areas to try and accumulate as many points as possible.
In varying distances, five circles were drawn around the hole with each ring signifying a point total. A 25-yard chip shot, followed by a bunker shot and then finally a 25-yard flop were on the table to see who would be staying and who would be heading home.
Debbie Dahmer led the group in points after a great shot to within a couple of feet in the opening round, as Liz Uthoff found herself at the other end of the spectrum and in last as her first attempt came up an bit shy of the hole.
Standing in the wet sand of the bunker during stage two of the challenge, Sarah Sasse almost holed her effort and quickly found herself in first place after two rounds. Uthoff was still mired in last place although four players were well within her reach if she was able to come up with something big in the days final shot.
One by one, the players in front established themselves as survivors as they maintained their scores to avoid elimination. It then came down to the final two contestants, Tasha Browner and Uthoff, to see who could hang on. At the most unfortunate of times, Browner skulled her attempt over the green resulting in zero points, leaving her destiny in Uthoff's hands.
I dont think I have ever been that focused in my entire life, said Uthoff about her closing shot.
That said, Uthoff stuck her flop shot close thus dodging the elimination bullet and sending Browner packing for home.
I controlled my own destiny and I didnt take care of my own business. Im obviously going to have to live with that, said the departing Browner. The (last) shot, unfortunately, Im going to be replaying for a long time.
Be sure to tune in next Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET) as the ladies finally get a chance to grip it and rip it and where one of them pulls off one of the best shots in Big Break history.
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    Tiger can't commit, goes OB on 16: 'That’s on me'

    By Will GrayMarch 18, 2018, 11:05 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Standing on the 16th tee with the leaders in sight and the roars of the crowd still ringing in his ears, Tiger Woods contemplated three different options for his most critical tee shot of the week.

    He couldn’t decide on any of them, and as a result deposited his chances of winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational into a backyard adjacent to the fairway.

    Woods was only one shot back through 15 holes, but with the leaders well behind him on the course he knew he needed at least a birdie on the par-5 16th to keep pace. Instead, he pulled his tee shot left and out of bounds, leading to an untimely and costly bogey on the easiest hole on the course.

    “I was caught,” Woods said. “I couldn’t decide what I was going to do.”

    In Woods’ mind, he had three options: “fit” a driver left to right with the shape of the fairway, “bomb it over the top” of the dogleg or just hit a 3-wood “straight away.” He opted for the driver, but after missing right the first three days he sent his ball sailing left.

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

    Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    “I bailed out and hit a bad shot,” Woods said. “And that’s on me for not committing.”

    Woods went on to bogey the next hole, but after a par save on No. 18 he finished the week in a tie for fifth at 10 under for his third straight top-12 finish. Given the sizzling close of Rory McIlroy, an eagle on 16 likely would have still left him looking up at the Ulsterman on the leaderboard.

    “Even though I got up there, I just knew I needed to keep making birdies,” Woods said. “Those guys had so many holes behind me, where I just birdied the same holes and so if they made birdie on those holes, I would have to keep going. I got to 16, I figure I’ve got to play the last three holes in 3 under to have a chance and probably force a playoff. And maybe that wouldn’t have been good enough the way Rory is playing back there.”

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    McIlroy (64) storms to Arnold Palmer victory

    By Nick MentaMarch 18, 2018, 10:48 pm

    Rory McIlroy fired a bogey-free, final-round 64, birdied the 72nd hole in Tiger-esque fashion and stormed to a three-shot victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Here’s how Rory ended his winless drought, and how the aforementioned Woods made a Sunday charge before collapsing late:

    Leaderboard: McIlroy (-18), Bryson DeChambeau (-15), Justin Rose (-14), Henrik Stenson (-13), Woods (-10), Ryan Moore (-10)

    What it means: This is McIlroy’s 14th PGA Tour victory and his first worldwide win since Sept. 25th, 2016. That was the day he walked away from East Lake with both the Tour Championship and the FedExCup. It was also the day Arnold Palmer passed away at the age of 87. With the win, McIlroy reasserts himself as a force following a winless 2017 in which he was plagued by a nagging rib injury. The four-time major winner will make one more start at next week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and then make his way to Augusta National, where he looks to complete the career Grand Slam.

    Round of the day: Two back to start the final round, McIlroy made his eight birdies in bunches. He circled three of his last four holes on the front nine – Nos. 6, 7 and 9 – to make the turn in 3-under 33 and work his way into the mix. Following three pars at 10-12, he caught fire, ripping off five birdies in his final six holes. He took the outright lead at 14, chipped in at 15, and sealed the deal at 18.

    Best of the rest: DeChambeau made McIlroy earn it, cutting the lead to just one when he eagled the 16th hole as McIlroy was walking to the final tee. A par at 17 and a bogey at 18 netted him 68 and solo second.

    Big disappointment: This is Stenson’s fourth top-five finish at this event in the last six years. The overnight leader by one, he went 71-71 over the weekend and bogeyed 18 to finish fourth.

    Biggest disappointment: Woods made a vintage Sunday charge at Bay Hill before bogeying two of his final three holes and settling for a final-round 69 and a tie for fifth.The eight-time API winner was minus-5 on the day and just one off the lead when he sniped his tee shot at the par-5 16th out of bounds to the left. He bogeyed both 16 and 17 before making a scrambling par at 18 to finish the week 10 under par.

    Shot of the day: McIlroy’s birdie putt at 18.

    Remind you of anything?

    Quote of the day: "It means a lot. You know, the last time I won a PGA Tour event was the day Mr. Palmer passed away, so it's a little bit ironic that I come here and win. He set a great example for all of us players to try and follow in his footsteps. If everyone on Tour could handle themselves the way Arnie did, the game of golf would be in a better place. ... To be able to win his event, I wish I walked up that hill and got a handshake from him but I'm so happy to my name on that trophy." - McIlroy

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    TT postscript: Masters hype builds after final-round charge

    By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 10:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Here are some thoughts from walking one last loop alongside Tiger Woods on another steamy afternoon at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    • What might have been. Woods transformed Bay Hill into an absolutely electric atmosphere when he started the back nine with three birdies in four holes to get within a shot of the lead. Dressed in his traditional red and black, it was a second straight Sunday where we were treated to watching him try to catch the leaders down the stretch.

    • But the momentum he had built up disappeared with a single tee shot, as Woods pulled his drive on the par-5 16th out of bounds and into someone’s backyard. His chances for a ninth tournament title were effectively ended with one errant swing, as he bogeyed the easiest hole on the course and then bogeyed the next for good measure.

    • While the closing stretch was disappointing, it was still another remarkable week for Woods considering where his game stood a month ago. His 3-under 69 in the final round lifted him to 10 under for the week, and he ended up in a tie for fifth. He’s now on the cusp of the top 100 in the world rankings, and he’ll head to the Masters on the heels of three straight top-12 finishes for the first time since 2008.

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

    Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    • It didn’t take long after his final putt dropped for Augusta National to become a topic of conversation. Woods has played only once since 2014, and he plans to make a return trip before the season’s first major to re-acclimate himself with the course and make sure his yardage book “is still good.”

    • Taking the long view on things, Woods was all smiles about his comeback that remains a work in progress. “If you would have asked me at the beginning of the year that I would have had a chance to win two golf tournaments,” Woods said, “I would have taken that in a heartbeat.”

    After going T-2 and T-5 in this latest fortnight, Woods will now have two weeks off before he tees it up for a chance to win his fourth green jacket, his first major since 2008 and his first tournament anywhere since 2013. Can. Not. Wait.

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    Highlights: Tiger (69) makes charge, collapses

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Tiger Woods made a vintage Sunday charge at Bay Hill before bogeying two of his final three holes and settling for a final-round 69 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    The eight-time API winner was 5 under on the day and just one off the lead when he sniped his tee shot at the par-5 16th out of bounds to the left. He bogeyed both 16 and 17 before making a scrambling par at 18 to finish the week 10 under par, in a tie for fifth.

    "I didn't commit to it," Woods said of his drive at 16, where he attempted to fly his ball over the fairway bunkers, rather than hitting a cut or laying back. "And that's on me for not committing."

    Starting five off the lead, Tiger got rolling with with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

    Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which he walked in.

    A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

    A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

    Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

    Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at the par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

    His momentum was slowed by his first bogey of the day at No. 9, the product of an errant drive and its ensuing complications. As a result, Woods made the turn 2 under on his round, 9 under for the week, and still five off the lead, like when he started the day.

    But Woods wouldn't wait long to make up for his mistake, immediately responding with another flagged iron and birdie at No. 10.

    He continued his assault on Bay Hill's par-5s at the 12th, getting up and down from the sand for a birdie-4 that moved him to 11 under par, just two off the lead.

    This roll at 13 giving him his third birdie in four holes, and the charge was officially on, as Woods was suddenly just a shot back.

    Just when it looked like Woods was primed for a late run at his 80th PGA Tour victory, Woods stepped to the tee at the par-5 16th, where he had missed wide right three days in a row, and ripped his drive out of bounds into a backyard miles left.

    He made 4 on his second ball for a bogey-6 and dropped another shot at the par-3 17th, ending his chances.