Big Break Alumna Sara Brown Earns Full-Time Status on LPGA Tour

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 14, 2011, 6:40 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 13, 2010)Big Break Sandals Resorts and Big Break Dominican Republic competitor Sara Brown will play full time on theLeaderboards: Pga | Lpga | Champions Tour4 finish Sunday at the final stage of LPGA Tour Q-School.

Brown, 25, finished “on the number” at 2-over-par to earn her LPGA Tour card at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. 

“I was trying to stay in it and take it one shot at a time,” said Brown.  “But, to be honest, on hole 17, I told my caddy I was either going to puke or cry.  Neither one would have been good.  I was nervous to say the least.”

On Monday, she and her boyfriend Derek Radley – who also is her swing coach – are traveling to Spain for the final stage of the Ladies European Tour Q-School this week.  Her goal is to achieve full-time status on both the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour for 2011.

Competing on the LPGA Tour will be a far cry from one year ago, when Brown nearly quit the game that she has been playing competitively since age eight.  She hung up her golf clubs after enduring a “sophomore slump” on the LPGA Futures Tour, and reconsidered golf as a career during the off-season.

“I didn’t touch my clubs, not once,” explained Brown back in January during filming of Big Break Sandals Resorts.  “Those two months allowed me to clear my head and re-address my goals not only professionally, but also personally.”

It wasn’t until after the filming of Big Break Sandals Resorts (she finished third) that her passion and love for the game returned, and erased any doubts she had about golf as a career.  She returned as a contestant on Big Break Dominican Republic in June that recently concluded its on-air run on Golf Channel.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better experience than what I went through on Big Break in the Bahamas,” said Brown during filming of Big Break Dominican Republic.  “I fell back in love with the game.  It erased any doubts in my mind that this is what I want to do with my life.”

In January, Brown told Golf Channel that she had a goal of being on the LPGA Tour in five years.  On Sunday, she achieved her goal four years ahead of schedule.

Joining Brown on the LPGA Tour in 2011 will be Big Break Prince Edward Island contestant Gerina Mendoza and Big Break Sandals Resorts contestant Ryann O’Toole.  Mendoza had a career year on the 2010 LPGA Futures Tour, making 15 of 17 cuts that included six top-10 finishes and a career-best runner-up finish at the ING New England Golf Classic.  She earned full-time status on the LPGA Tour in 2011 by finishing fifth on the LPGA Futures Tour Money List.  O’Toole earned partial status on the LPGA Tour by finishing seventh on the 2010 LPGA Futures Tour Money List, highlighted by her first two victories as a professional.  The three will join Kristy McPherson (Big Break VI: Trump National) – a member of the victorious 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team – as the four Big Break alums with 2011 LPGA Tour membership.

Carling Coffing (Big Break Sandals Resorts Champion) became the first Big Break winner in the series’ 14-season history on Sunday to earn a paycheck in all tournament sponsor exemptions granted as a result of the victory.  Coffing finished T-22 the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour on Sunday and finished 30th in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational presented by Banamex and Corona Light in November (no cut event).  She also earned a sponsor exemption to compette in the LPGA Challenge in October via the tournament after her Big Break victory, finishing T-53 in her first LPGA Tour event.   

Golf Channel’s Big Break show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  Past Big Break champions have won tournament exemptions to compete on some of the world’s top professional circuits, such as the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Nationwide Tour and Canadian Tour.  Several past Big Break competitors are currently competing on the world’s top tours, including Tommy Gainey, James Nitties, Matt Every and McPherson.

Getty Images

O. Fisher, Pepperell share lead at Qatar Masters

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2018, 5:13 pm

DOHA, Qatar - Oliver Fisher birdied his last four holes in the Qatar Masters third round to share the lead at Doha Golf Club on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Englishman shot a 7-under 65 for an overall 16-under 200. Eddie Pepperell (66) picked up shots on the 16th and 18th to catch his compatriot and the pair enjoy a two-shot lead over American Sean Crocker (67) in third.

David Horsey (65) was the biggest mover of the day with the Englishman improving 31 places for a share of fourth place at 12 under with, among others, Frenchman Gregory Havret and Italian Andrea Pavan.

Fisher, winner of the 2011 Czech Open, made some stunning putts on his way in. After an eight-footer on the par-4 15th, he then drove the green on the short par-4 16th for an easy birdie, before making a 12-footer on the 17th and a 15-footer on the 18th.

Like Pepperell, Fisher also had just one bogey to show on his card, also on the 12th hole.

Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

''I gave myself some chances coming in and thankfully I made them,'' said Fisher, who has dropped to 369th in the world rankings.

''You can quite easily make a few bogeys without doing that much wrong here, so it's important to be patient and keep giving yourself chances.''

Pepperell, ranked 154th in the world after a strong finish to his 2017 season, has been a picture of consistency in the tournament. He was once again rock-solid throughout the day, except one bad hole - the par-4 12th. His approach shot came up short and landed in the rocks, the third ricocheted back off the rocks, and he duffed his fourth shot to stay in the waste area.

But just when a double bogey or worse looked imminent, Pepperell holed his fifth shot for what was a remarkable bogey. And he celebrated that escape with a 40-feet birdie putt on the 13th.

''I maybe lost a little feeling through the turn, but I bounced back nicely and I didn't let it bother me,'' said the 27-year-old Pepperell, who hit his third shot to within four feet on the par-5 18th to join Fisher on top.

The long-hitting Crocker is playing on invites on the European Tour. He made a third eagle in three days - on the par-4 16th for the second successive round.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 24, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Getty Images

Uihlein fires back at Jack in ongoing distance debate

By Randall MellFebruary 24, 2018, 4:32 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Wally Uihlein challenged Jack Nicklaus’ assault this week on the golf ball.

Uihlein, an industry force as president and CEO of Titleist and FootJoy parent company Acushnet for almost 20 years, retired at year’s start but remains an adviser.

In an interview with ScoreGolf on Friday, Uihlein reacted to Nicklaus’ assertions that the ball is responsible for contributing to a lot of the troubles the game faces today, from slow play and sagging participation to the soaring cost to play.

Uihlein also took the USGA and The R&A to task.

The ball became a topic when Nicklaus met with reporters Tuesday at the Honda Classic and was asked about slow play. Nicklaus said the ball was “the biggest culprit” of that.

“It appears from the press conference that Mr. Nicklaus was blaming slow play on technology and the golf ball in particular,” Uihlein said. “I don’t think anyone in the world believes that the golf ball has contributed to the game’s pace of play issues.”

Nicklaus told reporters that USGA executive director Mike Davis pledged over dinner with him to address the distance the golf ball is flying and the problems Nicklaus believes the distance explosion is creating in the game.

“Mike Davis has not told us that he is close, and he has not asked us for help if and when he gets there,” Uihlein said.

ScoreGolf pointed out that the Vancouver Protocol of 2011 was created after a closed-door meeting among the USGA, The R&A and equipment manufacturers, with the intent to make any proposed changes to equipment rules or testing procedures more transparent and to allow participation in the process.

“There are no golf courses being closed due to the advent of evolving technology,” Uihlein said. “There is no talk from the PGA Tour and its players about technology making their commercial product less attractive. Quite the opposite, the PGA Tour revenues are at record levels. The PGA of America is not asking for a roll back of technology. The game’s everyday player is not advocating a roll back of technology.”

ScoreGolf said Uihlein questioned why the USGA and The R&A choose courses that “supposedly” can no longer challenge the game’s best players as preferred venues for the U.S. Open, The Open and other high-profile events.

“It seems to me at some point in time that the media should be asking about the conflict of interest between the ruling bodies while at the same time conducting major championships on venues that maybe both the athletes and the technology have outgrown,” he said. “Because it is the potential obsolescence of some of these championship venues which is really at the core of this discussion.”

Getty Images

J. Korda leads M. Jutanugarn by four in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2018, 3:00 pm

CHONBURI, Thailand - Jessica Korda kept an eye on her younger sister while firing a 4-under 68 in the third round of the LPGA Thailand on Saturday to lead Moriya Jutanugarn by four strokes.

A day after a course-record 62 at Siam Country Club, Korda fought back from a bogey on the front nine with five birdies to finish on 20-under 196 overall. The American was on the 18th hole when concerns over lightning suspended play for 30 minutes before play resumed.

''(I) was playing really well at the end of the season, but I haven't been in this (leading) position. Being back, it just takes you a little bit of time,'' said the 24-year-old Korda, who won her fifth and last title at the LPGA Malaysia in 2015.

Her 19-year-old sister Nelly Korda (65) is eight shots off the lead.

Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

''I'm definitely a leaderboard watcher. I love seeing her name up there,'' said Jessica Korda, who was playing her first tournament since jaw surgery.

Propelled by eight birdies and an eagle on the par-4 No. 14, with three bogeys, Moriya signed off with a 65 and a total of 16-under 200.

''Everybody has the chance to win as all the top players are here this week,'' said Moriya, who has a chance to become the first Thai winner in her home tournament.

Australian Minjee Lee (68) is third on 15-under 201, followed by former top-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn (65) on 202. Lexi Thompson (69), the 2016 champion, is a stroke further back. Michelle Wie (69) is tied for sixth.

Brittany Lincicome was in second place after the second round, four shots behind Jessica Korda, but the American dropped down the board and is tied for ninth after a 73.