Gainey Earns His Big Break

By Mark MitchellMay 24, 2007, 4:00 pm
The Big Break VIIWidely considered the most talented player competing in the GOLF CHANNELs The Big Break VII: Reunion, Tommy Gainey lived up to the billing by beating Ashley Gomes, 3 and 2, in a nine-hole match-play finale to be crowned the series champion.
 
Gaineys victory earned an exemption to play in the 2007 Cox Classic on the Nationwide Tour. In addition, Ginn Reunion Resort presented him with $25,000 in cash and $25,000 in Ginn Resort lodging and hospitality. Adams Golf gave him an Adams Golf endorsement contract and $10,000 cash while Dicks Sporting Goods provided a $10,000 shopping spree in the form of a gift card. Finally, the one-time water-heater factory worker and furniture mover drove away in a new 2007 Chrysler Aspen.
 
Im pleased I set my goal and accomplished it, said Gainey, who never tailed in Gomes during the match. I have to take my hat off to these competitors because they pushed me to the limit. It really was a physical and mental grind for me during these 12 episodes.
 
Gainey, known as Two Gloves because he wears a golf glove on each hand, set the tone for the finale with an eagle on the downhill 544-yard par-5 first hole at the Watson Independence course at Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla. Sporting a self-taught swing driven by an ultra-strong ten-finger grip, he needed only a 5-iron to reach the green on his second shot to set up a 20-foot eagle putt.
 
The 321-yard opening tee shot sent the intended message that Gainey was playing for keeps and Gomes heard it loud and clear. As she later said, its not normal for someone to hit it that far. Startled and rattled, Gomes promptly hit a wayward tee shot on the second hole that led to penalty and what would have been at least a bogey if the hole had been played out.
 
Its one of those moments when you are on the golf course and a really negative thought enters your brain and you cant get it out, Gomes said of the tee shot on the second hole. As soon as I hit it I knew I was in trouble.
 
Yes she was and it had little to do with a pushed tee ball. Gainey was sharp while Gomes carelessly tossed away strokes that led to her ultimate demise. Two down on the fifth hole, she missed a 5-foot birdie putt that would have won the hole. On the next hole she again failed to convert a birdie putt that would have won the hole, this time missing from 12 feet.
 
You try to tell yourself that it is like any other day other day on the golf course but you know its not, Gomes said. The nerves were creeping into my head.
 
Fittingly, the match ended on the seventh hole when Gomes missed a short putt.
 
My goal is make the PGA TOUR so I have to get use to the cameras being on me, said Gainey, who was also a contestant in The Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe. I might as well start right now getting focused on what I need to do. Being on this show and wining was very sweet.
 
Filmed last November at Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla., The Big Break VII concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in challenges that test physical skills and mental toughness. Competitors were eliminated with the last one standing crowned champion and awarded his/her opportunity to play on a major tour.
 
While Gainey looks forward to competing in the Cox Classic in July, he isnt waiting to pursue his quest. Earlier this month he Monday qualified to play in the PGA TOURs Wachovia Championship. Last week, playing on a sponsors exemption, he was one shot off the lead entering the final round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am at the Cliffs on the Nationwide Tour. While he posted a 77 to finish tied for 30, it was one a learning experience.
 
In each case, the 31-year-old, whose normal golf residence is the Gateway, Tarheel and Grey Goose U.S. Pro Golf mini-tours, credited his experience on the series for preparing him to handle the pressure and playing in front of the camera and galleries.
 
Now, with series title in hand there is no telling how far Gainey can take his Big Break.
 
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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.