The Odds are Improving

By November 4, 2003, 5:00 pm
The Big BreakEditor's Note: The Golf Channel aired the fifth episode of its original series, The Big Break, Tuesday in which a group of scratch golfers vie in a weekly showdown of golf skills challenges. Each week one contestant will be eliminated until there is just one man left standing on the tee box. 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.
 
With each passing competition and one player continuing to be eliminated, the odds were starting to become more apparent ' both good and bad. Good for the fact that the smaller number of contestants meant the chance of winning the Big Break was becoming more of a reality for the players.
 
But also a reality was that the odds of going home were rising and the players were becoming a little more subdued as a result.
 
The atmosphere is definitely changing. Everybody is getting a little quieter, spoke Justin Peters about the groups mood. Friendship is still there, but the competitiveness is going to start creeping through and pressure is building, the stakes are rising.
 
Added Anthony Sorentino, Now its getting closer, you can smell it a little bit. Its not going to turn into us rooting against each other at all - because it's golf. You just try to hit good golf shots.
 
Big Break - Group looks onThe first skills challenge had the contestants hitting a wedge from 90 yards out to three targets varying in size and point value within a 90-second time frame. The largest target was about 400 square feet in size and held a five-point value, the second was 225 square feet and worth 10 points. The smallest target was about the size of a small bathroom but worth a very tempting 20 points.
 
The risk/reward factor definitely had the players contemplating their approach to the shot and the all-important mulligan given to the winner of the challenge.
 
I just wanted to start off at the five pointer, get into a groove then move my aim over to the 10s and then maybe one of the last ones hit toward the 20, said Craig Pawling on his strategy. It was a timed event and Ive come to learn, for me, speed golfing doesnt exactly work with me. I get real rushed and dont make my normal swing.
 
With scores ranging from 0 to 25, Anthony Sorentino walked away with the mulligan and a pair of mountain bikes and a kayak in the process. But the fun was over, as the players waited for what was in store in the elimination challenge.
 
This elimination was designed to test their ability to control both distance and accuracy by hitting four different clubs to a pin located on a green 120 yards away. A pitching wedge, 9-iron, 8-iron and a 7-iron were to be used and the player with the highest aggregate total distance from the pin would be sent packing.
 
Watching the skills challenges on TV, Ive always watched them thinking, Id love to do something like that, it looks so fun, said an excited Peters about the shows different formats and challenges. Im having a blast hitting all these crazy shots, testing our skills.
 
Craig Pawling was the first to go and established the mark to beat with a total distance of 147 feet 10 inches. Next up was Mark Farnham and a wayward third shot cost him big-time, landing some 90 feet away from the pin. His four-shot total of 159 feet 1 inch put him in a precarious position.
 
The next four contestants all held their own, with Randy Block coming in with the shortest distance of the day, just 72 feet 0 inches. Only Jon Roddy and Sorentino remained as Farnham stood by patiently waiting for the results.
 
Big Break - Jon RoddyAfter three indifferent shots, Roddy needed to get his last ball somewhat close in order to move on and leave Farnham on the outside looking in. His knockdown 7-iron looked to be just the shot he needed until it hit a small bump on the front of the green that deflected the ball sharply away from the pin. A bad break had suddenly ended Roddys chance at the Big Break.
 
I executed the shot the way youre suppose to. It was coming in fine and then it just took that roll to the left, said a disappointed Roddy. But Ill learn from it. Thats life, its tough.
 
It was the first elimination challenge where somebody hit a pretty good shot and a funny bounce took the guy out of it, added Pawling on the breaks of the game.
 
After the challenge the popular Roddy said his goodbyes and made his way back to the cabin to pack up his things.
 
Today was the most emotional day, said Sorentino, who easily made the cut in the elimination challenge. Jon was a class kid and he was real good at golf. Hes got a great swing. Everyone was pretty sad today, everyone was bummed out.
 
With the field now pared down to six contestants be sure to tune in to The Golf Channel Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET) as the group will face some physically and mentally exhausting challenges sure to have everyone on their toes.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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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 Web.com 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.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    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.