Twos Company Threes a Crowd

By April 20, 2005, 4:00 pm
The Big Break IIIEditors note: The Golf Channels Big Break III ' Ladies Only is the third installment of this hit series. As the title suggests, however, this season is just for the ladies. The 10 contestants are vying for entry into select LPGA tournaments, including the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill.
 
As the final three players relaxed before heading out to the days competition, an uncomfortable feeling greeted them at the morning breakfast table.
 
Knowing that the winner of the opening Skills Challenge would be guaranteed a spot in the finals, the ladies each sensed a dramatic change in the atmosphere.
 
Big Break III
Pam Crikelair has had several near misses during the first 9 weeks.
We went from having 10 (at the table), sitting elbow to elbow, having five different conversations at once, very loud, observed the groups youngest competitor Pam Crikelair. Now theres three of us, sitting awkwardly at the table with very forced conversation.
 
The shows ninth and final Skills Challenge was going to test their driving ability, both in distance and in accuracy. Each drive would be measured for length and then a measurement of how far off line the ball came to rest would be subtracted from the original total. The trio would hit three drives with the two highest totals moving on to a putting challenge to determine who would win immunity onto the final show.
 
As they made their way to the course they were met by not only co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks, but Mother Nature was making a return visit as well.
 
All the rain that we had had really left its mark for this event because it was soggy, it was wet, remarked Crikelair. It was basically how far you can carry it.
 
Crikelairs assessment was correct as her opening blast down the middle produced no roll but was still accurate enough and long enough to move into the lead. Her subsequent drive, however, was pushed way the to right to bring both Cindy Miller and Danielle Amiee back into the fold as they were down to one last swing.
 
The usually precise and steady Miller needed a big drive to get into the putting challenge, but her third attempt drifted too far left and left her ' for the first time in four shows ' on the outside looking in.
 
I just thought thats OK with me. Ive got three (immunities) in a row and four total, said the unwavering Miller. I was OK with that.
 
It was now Crikelair and Amiee in a putting duel to see who would be assured a spot in the final show and who would face Miller in the Elimination Challenge.
 
The second portion of the Skills Challenge asked the final pairing to hole out from four different locations on a green, each with dissimilar breaks and of different lengths.
 
Danielle needs to win this because it would be a great confidence booster for her, said Crikelair somewhat brazenly. And Danielle needs more of a confidence booster than I do.
 
And lo and behold right out of the gate, the opposite happened as Amiee couldnt convert the shortest of the four putts then watched as Crikelair drained it to go one up. Crikelair tried to give it back on the next as her long lag putt finished well short and led to a three putt. Amiee was unable to take advantage as she too three putted to remain one down.
 
The third location turned out to be a back-breaker for Amiee, as she pushed a putt that looked to be almost in gimme range to the right and again resulted in three putts. Crikelair had already made a two and now was one good stroke from heading to the final show.
 
Big Break III
Danielle Amiee has rubbed some people the wrong way, but nevertheless has survived each and every Elimination Challenge.
I knew I could four putt and tie, though I didnt plan on doing that, said Crikelair about her situation. For the first time I started thinking, Im going to the finals.
 
True enough, Amiee couldnt make her last putt and Crikelair made an easy two to take up the first slot in The Big Break III finale.
 
This kid has only played for three years and to have the guts to even apply (to be on the show), said the fairly surprised Miller on Crikelairs performance. And then to make it all the way to the finals, its just a great story.
 
It was now gut check time as Amiee and Miller would battle each other in the Elimination Challenge to see who would stay alive to face Crikelair in the finals.
 
Cindy wants it sooo bad, said Miller about the prospects of her impending clash with Amiee. But its time to buckle up and grind.
 
The Elimination Challenge would be three holes of head-to-head stroke play, with the player with lowest score moving on, and the other unfortunately heading home.
 
Both players started off by hitting their drives a little left on the first hole, but safe enough to have a good shot into the green. Trying to cope with the constant drizzle and a stiff breeze, Amiee left her approach short and in a bunker, leaving the door ajar for Miller who was on in two.
 
Amiee quickly turned the tables with spectacular sand shot the almost dropped in the hole for a birdie. Both made pars and then moved on to face a long, dogleg left par-5.
 
She really hit a great shot. I mean the girl has got game, said Miller on Amiees clutch sand save. You gotta respect her.
 
With the wet, windy conditions the ladies both laid up with their second shots, hoping to stick a wedge in close for a chance at birdie. Millers approach, however, went a little long and left leaving her with a delicate downhill chip to the cup. Amiees approach not only found the green but was close enough to give her a great chance to make a birdie and move to 1 under.
 
Amiee couldnt convert though then watched as Millers chip raced by the hole. She then followed up with a putt that rolled around the back rim of the cup only to stay out. Amiee now had a slight lead as they prepared for the final hole.
 
Big Break III
After avoiding the last three Elimination Challenges all together, Cindy Miller had her good run finally came to a close.
I had no idea what the outcome was going to be, said Crikelair as she scouted Amiee and Miller. I think that at any given point somebody can make a great shot and that same person can make a terrible shot.
 
Up a stroke, Amiee confidently hit her tee shot on the par-3 but came up short of the flagstick, some 50 feet away. Miller countered with a beautiful approach to within 15 feet of the pin. Trying to keep her nerves in check and avoid what could be a disastrous three putt, Amiees lag putt again came up short, leaving her with a testy 5-footer for par.
 
It was now up to Miller to make a statement. Her attempt had the line but ran out of stream about a foot short of the cup.
 
Amiee now stood over a 5 footer to win the Elimination Challenge and advance to the finals against her nemesis Crikelair.
 
This putt had way too much on it to rush it, said Amiee her impending putt. Once I mentally was committed to the line then I could take a deep breath and stroke it. And if it dropped it dropped. If it didnt, it didnt.
 
It dropped, setting up a grudge match between Crikelair and Amiee.
 
For Miller, however, it was not a time to hang her head as she came away from the defeat like her usual self ' with a good attitude.
 
Theres an awful lot of lessons you can learn on the links for life, said the departing Miller. I wanted to make it, but I didnt have to make it. Im just thrilled that Ive become a better player, and a bigger person, for doing this.
 
After nine weeks of physical and mental challenges, its down to only Pam and Danielle to battle it out on the final episode of The Big Break III. The two rivals have butted heads throughout the series and its only fitting that they face each other for the title and the LPGA Tour exemptions. Although the ultimate prize is enough to get the competitive juices flowing, the disdain each has for the other will make the winners victory that much more sweet.
 
The series finale airs Tuesday, April 26, at 9 p.m. ET on The Golf Channel. The winner goes to the LPGA Tour and the loser goes home.
 
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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.