Vega Prevails in $50000 Challenge

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2006, 5:00 pm
The Big Break VIEditor's note: The Big Break VI featured nine men and nine women competing against each other in a variety of challenges that tested their skills and mental toughness for the right to compete in two Champions Tour and two LPGA Tour events, respectively. One female and one male were eliminated from the series each week, with the two standing being crowned Big Break VI: Trump National winners.
Bri Vega was one of the most unlikely contestants to emerge as the winner of The Big Break VI: Trump National. After all, wasnt she one of competitors nobody wanted as a teammate in the first episode?
Im like the kid not being picked in dodge ball, a dejected Vega explained when she was not picked as a partner and was forced to survive an elimination challenge to stay on the series. No one wanted me as a partner.
Vega must feel like one of the hip kids now. The 24-year-old Duramed FUTURES Tour player became the ultimate winner in The Big Break VI: Trump National by defeating Denny Hepler in a nine-hole match at Trump National Golf Course, Los Angeles.
In what was billed as a battle of the sexes between the nine female and nine male contestants, Vega won the match to earn $21,000 of the $50,000 Donald Trump put up for the competition. In addition, she will travel to New York on a private plane supplied by NetJets to receive her winnings personally from Trump, along with the keys to a 2007 Chrysler Aspen.
The highlights of Bris whirlwind tour of the Big Apple and visit to Trump Tower to collect her prizes directly from Trump will air in a bonus Big Break VI episode next Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel.
In the Big Break, friends become foes and adversaries can be recruited allies. That was the Trump-twist in the series finale as Vega was paired with a different female competitor on each of the first eight holes of the match. Hepler did the same with the remaining male competitors. At the ninth and final hole of the match, the two captains competed head-to-head as individuals without a partner.
Each hole was worth a set amount of money and the player with the most of Trumps cash at the end of the match was the winner. Via being the female and male champions, Hepler and Vega were the captains of the teams and were the only two who could win the trip and car. Their teammate, however, splits the total amount won on each hole.
Not that Hepler and Vega havent already been handsomely rewarded. As the female champion, she received an exemption into the 2007 SBS Open at Turtle Bay and the 2007 Longs Drugs Challenge, as well as waived entry fees for the 2007 Duramed FUTURES Tour season. For his winning effort, he earned exemptions into the 2007 Turtle Bay Championship and the 2007 Bank of America Championship, as well as waived entry fees in six events on the 2007 Heartland Players Senior Tour.
This twist was super, said the 51-year-old Hepler. It got everyone back involved and a chance to win a little money. It also put them back on the hot seat.
Helper and an ensemble of teammates shut out the females on the first five holes to give him a $9,000 lead. Vega responded with help from Ashley Gomes and Rachel Bailey to win Nos. 15 and 16 to earn $7,000.
I have never had a putt like that for that much money, Vega said of the $4,000 birdie-putt she made on the 16th hole.
With the last two holes worth $8,000 and $10,000 respectively, the pressure was just beginning. Both teams made par on No. 17 to send the match to the final hole with a total of $18,000 on the line.
After Helper pulled his tee shot into the left hazard, Vega found the fairway and hit her approach inside 10-feet. Helper attempting to play from the hazard but was ultimately forced to take a penalty drop. After he reached the green in four, Vega put an end to the competition by making her birdie putt.
Vega pocketed $14,000 on the final hole with $4,000 going to teammate Bridget Dwyer for her play on No. 17.
I win $21,000 and a new Chrysler Aspen, said Vega. Im going to get to fly on a private jet to New York to visit Mr. Trump at Trump Towers. I cant believe this is happening.
With the events of the day, and the series in general, you could say it was something similar as going to Disneyland.
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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.