Future stars: 'Big Break Greenbrier' cast released

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 13, 2012, 3:58 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – The cast for “Big Break Greenbrier” was released Monday, and it features 12 men looking to find their next step on the way to playing on the PGA Tour. The series, shot and produced at the Greenbrier in W. Va., premieres Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET.

The contestants are:

Ray Beaufils (25, Phoenix/Australia): A former Rugby player who had a decorated amateur golf career in Australia, Beaufils has battled injuries and a burn out after moving to the U.S. After taking six months away from the game, he renewed his passion after playing a weekend round of golf with friends. He turned professional in 2009, won the first two professional events entered and, ultimately, earned conditional status on the Web.com Tour in 2010 before a knee injury sidelined his career.  Fully recovered, Beaufils is competing on the Gateway Tour, where he is a two-time winner and has several top-10 finishes in 2012.

Derek Bohlen (27, Fountain Hills, Ariz.): Following a successful college golf career at Northern Iowa, Bohlen put his dreams to compete professionally on hold for an office job. After seeing the success of fellow Iowan Zach Johnson and having to constantly answer the question about why he gave up on golf, Bohlen switched careers and moved with his wife to Arizona in 2009 to pursue his dream. Bohlen is competing on the NGA Pro Series Tour.


 More information about 'Big Break Greenbrier'


Anthony Casalino (32, Yonkers, N.Y.): A PGA of America apprentice at Willow Ridge Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., Casalino is relying on his experience as a PGA of America professional to kick-start his tournament career on “Big Break Greenbrier.” Casalino, who turned his life around and focused on golf after filing for bankruptcy in 2005, recorded a best finish T-7 in the Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship in 2011 and qualified to compete in the 2012 Met Open in New York.

Rick Cochran (25, Paducah, Ky.): Nephew of Champions Tour veteran Russ Cochran, Rick is currently competing on the NGA Pro Series Tour, where he has recorded several top-10 finishes and one win in 2012. Rick is looking to follow in his famous uncle’s footsteps.

Brian Cooper (45, Phoenix/ Pittsburgh): The oldest competitor on the series, Cooper has amassed more than 30 professional victories on various professional golf tours worldwide. A two-sport athlete in college – hockey and baseball – Cooper switched to golf full-time after college, and is playing full-time on the Gateway Tour.

Liam Friedman (25, Lackawanna, N.Y.): One of two PGA of America pros competing on the series, Friedman is an assistant pro at Orchard Park Country Club in Lackawanna, N.Y. He captured the 2011 Western New York PGA Championship and competed in the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship earlier this summer. A member of the 2010 NCAA Division III National Championship golf team at Methodist, Friedman also is competing on the Golfslinger.com Tour.

Stu Gold (26, West Haven, Utah): Gold’s journey is an inspirational story of defeating personal demons and dramatically turning his life around. Once addicted to painkillers, Gold’s goal is to make it to golf’s biggest stage and share his story with others. Gold, who has been clean for more than two years, also is a new father and husband. He wants be an inspiration to family and friends who have supported him through his battles.

James Lepp (28, Abbotsford, British Columbia): A two-time winner on the Canadian Tour and a four-time All-American from the University of Washington, Lepp is returning to competitive golf in 2012 after burning out on the game and switching to the business side of golf, when he founded Kikkor Golf, a golf shoe apparel company.

Isaac Sanchez (33, Folsom, Calif.): Sanchez has overcome enormous odds in his career off the golf course. He was diagnosed with gigantism at an early age and, subsequently, had a tumor removed from his brain when he was in high school. After being surrounded by children with terminal illnesses while in the hospital, he changed his perspective on life.

Mark Silvers (25, Savannah, Ga.): Silvers competed in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, accumulated more than 15 wins on various mini tours in 2011, and has eight top-10 finishes and one win on the NGA Pro Series Tour in 2012.  He is competing on Big Break with a heavy heart, as his father – who introduced him to the game at a young age – passed away just prior to the filming of the series.

Chan Song (29, Cartersville, Ga.): Older brother to Naree and Aree Song, Chan is giving competitive golf one final push in 2012 after a wrist injury sidelined his career, and he switched to the business side of golf. A three-time All-American at Georgia Tech and one of the top ranked junior golfers in the U.S., Song is looking to follow in his sisters’ footsteps. Song is competing on the mini-tour circuit and the Canadian Tour.

Michael Tobiason (28, Wilmington, Del.): A two-sport athlete (basketball and golf) in college at Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington and carding 23 collegiate golf wins, Tobiason is one of two competitors who played in a U.S. Open – the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club. Playing on the Moonlight Golf Tour, Tobiason teaches golf at Applecross Country Club in Wilmington to supplement his income.

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.