Cast revealed for mixed-team 'Big Break Mexico'

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 2, 2013, 12:52 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – The cast for the next season of Golf Channel’s Big Break reality competition was revealed Tuesday, featuring 12 professionals ready to pursue their dreams of playing on either the LPGA or the PGA Tour. “Big Break Mexico” premieres May 13 at 9 p.m. ET.

Filmed at Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf and Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico, “Big Break Mexico” will feature a cast of six men and six women competing in a mixed-team format. They will compete in various golf-related skills challenges, with an exemption to compete either on the LPGA at the 2013 Lorena Ochoa Invitational or on the PGA Tour at the 2013 OHL Classic at Mayakoba, cash and other prizes.

Here is a list of the contestants:


Lindsey Bergeon (26, Sarasota, Fla.): A professional since graduating from Florida Southern College in 2008, Bergeon has competed full-time on the Symetra Tour, Cactus Tour and Canadian Women’s Tour the past four years. In 2013, Bergeon will compete on the Canadian Women’s Tour and Women’s State Opens throughout the country.

Taylor Collins (23, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): One of the younger competitors, Collins is in her sophomore season on the Symetra Tour, following an up-and-down rookie season that was highlighted by a fourth-place finish in her third event. Collins is a long-time student under Hall of Fame instructor Bob Toski, who first met Collins when she was in elementary school and gave Collins her first set of lessons.

Matthew Galloway (27, Tampa, Fla.): Former caddie for two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, Galloway has competed on various mini-tours all over the country during the past five years. A three-time Division II All American from the University of West Florida, Galloway is returning to the mini-tour circuit full time in 2013 with the experience, insight and guidance from walking the fairways on the PGA Tour with Janzen.

McKenzie Jackson (24, Scottsdale, Ariz. / Uniontown, Ohio): Playing in her second full season as a professional, Jackson is competing on the Cactus Tour, Canadian Women’s Tour and Women’s State Opens with a fresh outlook on golf after a frustrating 2012 season that included a break from the game at the end of the year. A graduate of Kent State University, Jackson received the phone call that she was cast on “Big Break Mexico” two days after she began refocusing on her game after an extended break.

Stefanie Kenoyer (24, Lighthouse Point, Fla.): The lone contestant on to have competed in a major championship (2009 U.S. Women’s Open) Kenoyer is playing full time on the Symetra Tour. Sara Lynn Sargent – her former college coach and competitor on “Big Break VI: Trump National” – encouraged Kenoyer to apply. Kenoyer will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Sargent, who earned her LPGA card the following season after being on Big Break.

Liebelei Lawrence (29, Nideranven, Luxembourg / Nashville, Tenn.): The first female from Luxembourg to compete on the Ladies European Tour (2011 and 2012), Lawrence credits her renewed passion for golf as a result of being cast on the show. She lost her status on the LET after the 2012 season and battled back injuries the entire season, causing her to consider hanging up her professional career.



Brent Long (26, Dallas / Carthage, Tenn.): Long competed in 11 Web.com Tour events in 2011, including eight via Monday qualifiers. The first alternate on “Big Break Greenbrier” in 2012, Long had almost given up on the idea of competing on Big Break after multiple tries. Long is competing full time on the NGA Tour and select Web.com Tour events in 2013.

Chad Schulze (34, Cockeysville, Md. / Lebanon, Pa.): Schulze is returning to competitive golf in 2013 after a few years on the business side of golf as a PGA of America Apprentice. A member of Pennsylvania’s Millersville University Hall of Fame, where was a Division II All American, Schulze is competing on Big Break because he needs that extra push to make it to golf’s highest stage.

Jason Seymour (36, Los Angeles): Seymour is returning to competitive golf full time for the first time in nine years, following a motorcycle accident that almost claimed his life. He hung up the golf clubs and turned to a successful construction business. Growing up in suburban Los Angeles, golf provided him a way out of “the bad things that surrounded me” and he has dreams of giving back to the game that has meant so much to him. He also is competing with a heavy heart as his father passed away three weeks prior to the filming of the series.

Emily Talley (22, Boulder, Colo. / Napa, Calif.): The youngest competitor, Talley is one of two contestants on the series to have played in an LPGA event. A graduate of the University of Colorado where she was an honorable mention All American, she turned professional after graduation in 2012. She is competing full time on the Symetra Tour in 2013.

Rob West (41, Peoria, Ariz.): The oldest competitor, West is returning to competitive golf after a 10-year hiatus to work in the construction business and raise a family. A multiple winner on the various mini-tour circuits in the 1990s, West is giving professional golf one final push.

Jay Woodson (31, Richmond, Va.): One of seven players in history to win both the Virginia State Amateur (2002, 2003) and the Virginia State Open (2012), Woodson has been competing on the mini tours for the past nine years. He endured an eight-year drought between professional wins in full-field events prior to capturing the Virginia State Open July of last year. Married and expecting his first child in June, Woodson is competing on the NGA Tour in 2013.


Golf Channel’s Tom Abbott and Stephanie Sparks return as co-hosts for the series, which will feature a guest appearance from former LPGA world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, who surprised the cast during the filming of the series and competed alongside the players in one of the challenges.

“I love having Big Break in my home country of Mexico and am proud to offer an exemption to the Lorena Ochoa Invitational,” Ochoa said. “Big Break is very popular, and I want to help the sport of golf in my country as much as I can. This is a win-win situation for all of us.”

Whan details LPGA changes for 2018 and beyond

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 8:56 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – The Race to the CME Globe’s season-long series and its big-bang finish at the CME Group Tour Championship are secured for another six years.

Tour commissioner Mike Whan announced a contract extension with CME Group through 2023 in his annual state-of-the-tour address Thursday at the Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club.

Whan also outlined changes to next year’s tournament schedule and detailed specifics of the revamp of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, with a new Q-School Series devised as the final stage beginning next year.

Highlights from Whan’s address:

Extending the CME Race . . .

The Race to the CME Globe, a season-long competition for a $1 million jackpot, will be played at least six more years, with Whan announcing a contract extension through 2023.

“We’re pretty excited about that,” Whan said.

The LPGA is also close to finalizing details that will keep the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club.

2018 schedule will include two new West Coast events . . .

The LPGA is likely going to lose three events next year, but it will gain three new ones, leaving the tour with 34 events, including the UL International Crown. That’s the same number of events being played this year. Total prize money is expected to reach $69 million, up from the record $65 million played for this season.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


The Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada is off next year’s schedule, and the Lorena Ochoa Match Play also is not expected to return. The McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open is not returning, but only because it is sliding off the schedule to move up early on the 2019 schedule.

Whan said two new West Coast events are being added, and they will be positioned on the calendar next to the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, to give players more reasons to stay out west.

Whan said there’s also a new international event being added to the schedule, but details of the new events won’t be released until the full schedule is released sometime after Thanksgiving.

“I hope you’ll agree that stability and predictability haven’t always been the calling card of the LPGA, but it has been the last few years,” Whan said. “I’m proud to tell you that the revenues of the LPGA in the last five or six years are up almost 90 percent. We have added 20 title sponsors and over 20 official marketing partners in the last five or six years. Don’t know too many sports that could claim that.”

Q-School officially overhauled . . .

Whan said the LPGA Qualifying Tournament will still be played in three stages next year, but the final stage will get a makeover as the Q-School Series.

The LPGA will continue to host first and second stages, but instead of a five-round final stage, there will be an eight-round finals series, with two four-round tournaments scheduled in back-to-back weeks in the same city, with cumulative scores used over eight rounds. The new Q-Series site will be announced early next year.

A field of 108 will make the Q-Series finals, with 40 to 50 LPGA tour cards up for grabs.

The Q-Series field will be filled by players finishing 101st to 150th on the LPGA money list, players finishing 31st to 50th on the Symetra Tour money list, with up to 10 players from among the top 75 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings who don’t have LPGA membership. Also, the field will include the top five in the Golfweek Sagarin College Rankings. The rest of the field will be filled by players advancing through Q-School’s second stage, which could be anywhere from 23 to 33 players, depending how many from the world rankings and college rankings choose to go to the Q-Series.

Ryu, S.H. Park among winners at Rolex awards

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 5:51 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – The Rolex Player of the Year and Vare Trophy winners won’t be determined until Sunday’s finish of the CME Group Tour Championship, but seven other awards were presented Thursday during the LPGA’s Rolex Awards dinner at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort.

The awards and winners:

William and Mousie Powell Award – Katherine Kirk won an award given to the player “whose behavior and deeds best exemplify the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA.” Kirk won the Thornberry Classic this year, her third LPGA title. “Some people ask me if I feel obligated to give back to the game,” Kirk said. “I think it’s a privilege.”

Heather Farr Perseverance Award – Tiffany Joh, who had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma earlier this year, thanked the Farr family and all those who supported Joh through her diagnosis and recovery.

“I found a great quote from Ram Dass, `We are all just walking each other home,’” Joh said. “I’ve really come to understand the value of all my relationships, no matter how fleeting or profound they seem.”

The Commissioner’s Award – Roberta Bowman, outgoing chair of the LPGA Board of Directors, was honored for her service the last six years. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan called her “my friend, my boss and my hero.” Bowman deflected the praise for her back on to the tour, thanking Whan, LPGA staff, players, sponsors, fans and the media.

“The world needs more role models for little girls,” Bowman said. “And they don’t need to look much farther than the LPGA.”

Ellen Griffin Rolex Award and Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement Award – Sandy LaBauve, who founded the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf program, was honored as the first person to win both these awards.

The Griffin Award honors golf teachers and the Lopez Award honors an LPGA professional who emulates the values Lopez demonstrated. LaBauve is the daughter of Jack and Sherry Lumpkin, both teachers of the game.

“This program doesn’t belong to me,” LaBauve said of LPGA-Girls’ Golf. “I merely planted the seed. The fruit belongs to all of us.”

Rolex Annika Major Award – So Yeon Ryu won the award, named for Annika Sorenstam, for the best overall performance in women’s major championships this year. She won the ANA Inspiration and tied for third at the U.S. Women’s Open.

“It’s such an honor to win an award named after Annika Sorenstam,” Ryu told Sorenstam during the presentation. “It’s a special award for me.”

Rolex Rookie of the Year Award – Sung Hyun Park won the honor, telling the audience in a message translated from Korean that she was disappointed failing to win the KLPGA’s Rookie of the Year Award and was grateful for a dream come true getting the chance to win it on the LPGA.

Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

Joel Dahmen had a 64.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.