All-female cast revealed for 'Big Break Atlantis'

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 12, 2012, 4:48 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Golf Channel’s “Big Break” series returns May 14 with an all-female cast looking to take the next step in their golf careers. “Big Break Atlantis,” the series’ 17th season, will premier May 14 at 9 p.m. ET.

Shot on location at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas, the show will showcase afield of 12 women at different stages of their golf careers – several are playing on the Symetra Tour, while others turned professional for the series. In addition to other prizes, the winner will receive an exemption into an LPGA event this year.

The contestants are:

Anya Alvarez (22, Pittsburgh): A fiery competitor on the course, Alvarez has overcome enormous odds off the course. A rookie on the Symetra Tour in 2012, Alvarez qualified and made the cut in the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open in her first attempt.

Shannon Fish (23, Spring, Texas): Fish turned professional in 2011 following graduation from the University of Texas, posting four top-4 finishes on the Cactus Tour in her rookie year. She was introduced to the game as a child by her mother and one of the game’s all time greats – Jackie Burke.

Natalia Ghilzon (21, Windsor, Ontario): Ghilzon will look to follow in the same footsteps as fellow Windsor native David Byrne, who won the series’ 15th season. After overcoming wrist injuries, Ghilzon enters 2012 healthy and with a new found confidence.

Meghan Hardin (19, Lake Arrowhead, Calif.): The youngest female competitor in the history of “Big Break” at age 19, Hardin turned professional just prior to filming the series, foregoing her final two years of college golf. A part-time model, Hardin will begin her pro golf career in 2012, competing in Cactus Tour and mini-tour events.

Selanee Henderson (25, Temecula, Calif.): Henderson is looking to capitalize on her success on the 2011 Cactus Tour (one win and one runner-up finish). A natural athlete, she is the younger sister of former Olympic wrestler and current MMA fighter Dan Henderson.

Marcela Leon (31, Orlando, Fla. / Monterrey, Mexico): Leon has competed on the Symetra Tour for the past nine years, with five career top-10 finishes and one runner-upfinish. She is competing a full-schedule on the 2012 Symetra Tour.

Aubrey McCormick (29, Arlington, Va.): McCormick hung up the golf clubs in 2011 after struggling on the Symetra Tour and other mini-tour circuits. After working in an office environment, McCormick rediscovered her passion for the game and is beginning 2012 with a fresh outlook. 

Allison Micheletti (24, Scottsdale, Ariz.): Daughter of former professional hockey player and current New York Rangers television analyst Joe Micheletti, Allison is a late bloomer to golf, switching to the game at age 17 following a kneeinjury that sidelined her basketball career. Currently dating Martin Kaymer, Micheletti will compete on the Cactus Tour and select Symetra Tour events in 2012.

Zakiya Randall (20, Atlanta): Golfer, model and music producer, Randall turned professional just prior to filming, and is determined to make a name for herself.  Nicknamed “Z,” Randall will look to make a statement on the series with her game and her fashion.

Gloriana Soto (25, Windermere, Fla. / San Jose, Costa Rica): The first female pro golfer from Costa Rica to compete in the United States, Soto turned pro immediately following graduation from Texas Tech in 2010, and is scheduled to play a full schedule on the Symetra Tour in 2012.

Christina Stockton (24, Rocklin, Calif.): Daughter of LPGA teaching professional Becky Herbert Stockton, golf was introduced to Christina at a young age. A four-time all conference player at the University of San Francisco and a part-time model, she turned professional in 2011.

Kelly Villarreal (29, Birmingham, Ala.): Villarreal is anticipating “Big Break Atlantis” to be her comeback story. She is giving professional golf another go after giving up on her dreams to compete on the LPGA for a medical sales career five years ago.

Golf Channel’s Tom Abbott and Stephanie Sparks return as co-hosts for the series. Produced in January at the Bahamas resort, the 11-part series will unfold on the Tom Weiskopf designed 18-hole Ocean Club Golf Course’s Championship Course.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.