Field of 40 Announced for Golf Channel's Inaugural Big Break Invitational Tournament at Reynolds Plantation

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 19, 2014, 1:35 pm

Golf Channel today announced the field of 40 former Big Break competitors who will go head-to-head in full tournament conditions for the first time this fall at the inaugural Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, a four-day invitational tournament airing live Tuesday, Sept. 30 – Friday, Oct. 3 from 3-6 p.m. ET.

Taking place at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation near Greensboro, Ga., the field of 40 (20 men and 20 women) represent 20 seasons of Big Break, including several of the series’ most memorable competitors who are playing on the world’s top professional tours.  The four-round tournament will feature a Modified Stableford format for the first two rounds, followed by match play and concluding with stroke play to determine the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation champion.  Fifteen Big Break champions are entered in the field for Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation.

The field includes:

Men

Robbie Biershenk                Big Break Indian Wells (2010)

David Byrne                         Big Break Indian Wells (2010) Champion                                                                      

Brian Cooper                        Big Break Greenbrier (2012); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)

Don Donatello                      Big Break II (2004)

Kent Eger                             Big Break Indian Wells (2010)

Tony Finau                           Big Break Disney Golf (2009)

Tommy Gainey                     Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe (2005); Big Break VII: Reunion (2007) Champion

Derek Gillespie                     Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009)  Champion

Kip Henley                            Big Break II (2004) Champion

Hugo Leon                            Big Break X: Michigan (2008)

Brent Long                           Big Break Mexico (2013)

Mark Murphy                      Big Break Ireland (2011)  Champion                                                                               

James Nitties                        Big Break Mesquite (2007)

Justin Peters                         Big Break I (2003) Champion                                                                                  

Jerry Rice                             Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013) Champion                                                       

Anthony Rodriguez             Big Break Mesquite (2008); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)            

Isaac Sanchez                      Big Break Greenbrier (2012); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)  Champion

Mark Silvers                         Big Break Greenbrier (2012) Champion

Julien Trudeau                     Big Break Ireland (2011)

Jay Woodson                       Big Break Mexico (2013)

Women

Anya Alvarez                       Big Break Atlantis (2012)

Mallory Blackwelder          Big Break Ireland (2011); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)

Sara Brown                         Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)

Taylor Collins                      Big Break Mexico (2013) Champion                                                                    

Selanee Henderson             Big Break Atlantis (2012)

Stefanie Kenoyer                 Big Break Mexico (2013); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)        

Tonya McCall                      Big Break Florida (2014)

Kristy McPherson                Big Break VI: Trump National (2006)

Mary Narzisi                        Big Break Florida (2014)

Carling Nolan                      Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010) Champion                                                     

Blair O’Neal                         Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009);

                                            Big Break Dominican Republic (2010) Champion                                       

Ryann O’Toole                     Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010)

Gerina Piller                         Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009)       

Elena Robles                        Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)

Sadena Parks                       Big Break Florida (2014)

Renee Skidmore                  Big Break Florida (2014)

Jackie Stoelting                    Big Break Florida (2014) Champion                                                             

Emily Talley                         Big Break Mexico (2013); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013) Champion   

Maiya Tanaka                      Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010)

Kim Welch                            Big Break Ka’anapali (2008) Champion

The field entered into Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation represent several of the most successful players coming out of Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series.  On the men’s side:

  • Tommy Gainey (Big Break VII: Reunion Champion) was the first Big Break competitor to earn full PGA TOUR status after Big Break, and won the PGA TOUR’s McGladrey Classic in 2012. 
  • Tony Finau (Big Break Disney Golf) will earn his PGA TOUR card for 2015 after capturing his first professional victory this year on the Web.com Tour.
  • James Nitties (Big Break Mesquite) currently playing full time on the Web.com Tour, is a past Web.com Tour winner and earned PGA TOUR status in 2012. 
  • Jay Woodson (Big Break Mexico) has several top-5 finishes and one win on the 2014 NGA Tour. 
  • Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice, who along with fellow Big Break teammates Isaac Sanchez and Emily Talley won Big Break NFL Puerto Rico in 2013, also is entered in the field.

On the women’s side:

  • Kristy McPherson (Big Break VI: Trump National), Ryann O’Toole (Big Break Sandals Resorts) and Gerina Piller (Big Break Prince Edward Island) are all currently playing full time on the LPGA Tour and are past U.S. Solheim Cup Team members – 2009, 2011 and 2013, respectively. 
  • Sadena Parks (Big Break Florida) is well on her way to earning full LPGA status in 2015 after winning two Symetra Tour events in three weeks in July in only her second season as a professional. 
  • Mallory Blackwelder (Big Break Ireland; Big Break NFL Puerto Rico) won her first professional tournament on the Symetra Tour this year in April and is currently in the top-10 on the Symetra Tour      Money List.
  • Jackie Stoelting (Big Break Florida champion) has five top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour this year and is inside the top-10 on the 2014 Symetra Tour Money List.
  • Tonya McCall (Big Break Florida) won her first professional event on the Cactus Tour in April in her first full-year back as a professional golfer.

Fifteen past Big Break champions are entered in Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, including Justin Peters and Kip Henley, the series’ first two champions, in 2003 and 2004.  Peters currently is playing full time on the mini tour circuit and PGA TOUR Canada, while Henley is a full-time caddie on the PGA TOUR.

Beginning a new multi-year relationship between Golf Channel and Reynolds Plantation, Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation will take place at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation, the famed golf resort community in Greensboro, Ga., and will feature a $300,000 overall purse, with $100,000 going to the champion.  The Ritz Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation will serve as host resort and tournament headquarters.

Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation will air live on Golf Channel from 3-6 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Sept. 30 – Friday, Oct. 3.  The first two rounds will feature a Modified Stableford format (players earning points for birdie and higher and negative points for bogey and lower), with the 12 men and 12 women earning the most points after the first two rounds making the cut.  Thursday’s third round will feature match play (six men vs. six men / six women vs. six women), with 12 match-play winners advancing to Friday’s final round of 18-holes of stroke play.

For the past 21 seasons, Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series has proven to be the launching pad of many aspiring professional golfers looking to take that next step in their golf careers. The Big Break concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  During the series’ 21 seasons, past Big Break champions have won tournament exemptions to compete on some of the world’s top professional circuits, including the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour and Canadian Tour. 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

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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