Gamesmanship and Eliminations

By Mark MitchellMarch 8, 2007, 5:00 pm
The Big Break VIIIf somehow, somewhere Seve Ballesteros was watching the second episode of The Big Break VII: Reunion, he is smiling. Not because contestant Mark Farnham imitated the Spaniards accent. And certainly not due to Cindy Millers trouble in the fairway bunker that cost her a spot on the show.
 
Seves grin would have come from Gary Ostregas effort at gamesmanship to stave off elimination from the series. The man who was notorious for a quick walk and jingling pocket change during Ryder Cup matches might have laughed out loud when Ostrega shuffled sand to distract Farnham during the final challenge from a fairway bunker.
 
Ostrega, however, wasnt amused that his dismissal from the series came at the hand of who he considers an inferior opponent. Calling Farnham a hooter and a clown, he was a bit condescending in defeat.
 
I would hope the better player would prevail, said Ostrega, who had a brief stint on the PGA TOUR from 1977-79 and currently is a golf instructor. He is trying to survive and Im trying to win the whole thing. Its a different mindset.
 
Time will tell. But its Farnham who survived the three-tiered Elimination Challenge and is still in the series with a chance to win a tournament exemption. If one of the eight male professionals is victorious, then he will either earn a spot in the field of the 2007 Cox Classic on the Nationwide Tour or the 2008 Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach on the Champions Tour. Should one of the eight females claim the title, then she will be invited to compete in the 2007 Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika on the LPGA Tour.
 
Never a candidate to be voted most popular at this reunion, Ostrega doesnt seem to play well with others. Ashley Gomes observed his act firsthand on The Big Break VI: Trump National and looked forward to the opportunity to play against him. Her chance came early as she partnered with Don Donatello to defeat the Ostrega / Miller team and send them to the Elmination Challenge. Competitions in Big Break VII are team events with the losing teams going an Elimination Challenge. Once there, teams are split and males compete against males and female take on other females.
 
I was excited about playing against Gary in the first challenge because he underestimates women on the golf course, said Gomes. He is more confident in himself than he should be. He talks a big game and I havent seen him back it up.
 
Guess hes not a ladies man. But what about the other male contestants? Wouldnt the boys bond and be buds? Maybe not.
 
Everybody was rooting for Mark (Farnham) and so was I, said the mild mannered Mike Foster, who teamed with Kim Lewellen to send Farnham and Laura London in the Elimination Challenge.
 
Ostrega and Miller are the first of the 16 contestants to be eliminated from the series. The Big Break concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in challenges that test physical skills and mental toughness. During The Big Break VII, competitors will be eliminated with the last one standing crowned the winner.
 
Shot at Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla., each show will feature two to three challenges, the outcome of each influencing who stays and who goes home. Each challenge will demand precision shot-making designed to simulate conditions that players face every week on tour.
 
As for Farnham, he was as gracious in victory as Ostrega was abrasive in defeat. The lone competitor from the original Big Break and a Chief Operating Officer at a distributing company in Chicago, Ill., he has no illusion about the talent gap in the series. As Big Break seasons progressed players were more accomplished. From the first six episodes, three of which involved females, six players are currently playing on the LPGA Tour this season.
 
He probably needed to learn the lesson that sometimes the best player doesnt always win, Farnham said. Sometimes the right players win. Today the right player won.
 
More to the point, Londons, who eliminated Miller, message to Ostrega was, Mark just kicked your butt. Sorry.
 
Ask the remaining contestants and they would tell you Seve couldnt have said it any better.
 
Related links:
  • The Big Break 7 - Home
  • Getty Images

    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

    Getty Images

    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

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

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

    Getty Images

    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

    Getty Images

    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.