Golf Channel Reveals All-Female Cast For Big Break Florida

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 28, 2014, 5:30 pm

 Golf Channel’s popular Big Break reality competition series returns Monday, Feb. 24 featuring an all-female cast hoping to take the next step in their professional golf careers by competing for more than $175,000 in cash and prizes – the largest collection of prizes in series history – and an opportunity to play on the LPGA Tour.

Big Break Florida, produced in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA and produced on location at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, features a cast of 12 women who are at different stages in their professional golf careers.  Several are currently competing on the Symetra Tour (official qualifying tour for the LPGA), while others are attempting to revive their professional golf careers.  Two competitors turned professional solely to qualify for Big Break Florida, including the youngest contestant (18) in the series’ 21 season-history.  All 12 will compete against each other in hopes of making their lifelong dream of walking the fairways on the LPGA Tour a reality. 

The contestants are:

Lindsay Aho (26, Scottsdale, Ariz. / Brush Prairie, Wash.) – Entering her second year on the Cactus Tour, Aho turned professional in 2013 after an outstanding career at Concordia, where she was a two-time All-American with 13 collegiate victories.  She won her first professional event in 2013, the Pepsi Northwest Women’s Open.

Courtney Coleman (28, Rochester, Wash.) – An underdog when it comes to professional golf experience, Coleman turned pro in 2012 and recently has returned to competitive golf after overcoming a thyroid condition.  She will play the mini-tour circuit in 2014.

Kylee Duede (22, Glendale, Ariz.) – Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as a baby, Duede is on a diminishing timetable for her golf career, knowing she will need to get a full knee replacement in the next few years.  Duede competed on the Cactus Tour as an amateur in 2013 and turned professional to compete on Big Break Florida.

Fiamma Felitch (24, Oklahoma City, Okla.) –A decorated junior golfer from Oklahoma – the 2007 high school state champion and player of the year – Felitch will compete on the Cactus and Symetra Tours in 2014 with a renewed sense of energy and passion to achieve her dream of competing on the LPGA Tour.

Tonya McCall (28, Las Vegas, Nev.) – A proud mother of two, McCall is giving professional golf another go.  A graduate of UNLV who had status on the Ladies European Tour in 2010 prior to putting her golf aspirations on hold, McCall will compete on the Cactus and Symetra Tours in 2014.

Mary Narzisi (24, Omaha, Neb.) – One of the more outspoken competitors on Big Break Florida, Narzisi has been competing full-time on the Symetra Tour the past two years after initially burning out on competitive golf after graduating from the University of Minnesota.  She will compete on the Symetra Tour in 2014.

Kristi O’Brien (23, Fishers, Ind.) – O’Brien’s life changed forever when she was involved in a severe car accident in 2009.  Miraculously, she walked away from the accident, and saw it as a sign that her golf clubs in the trunk also were unscratched.  Given a second chance in life, golf helped O’Brien recover from the emotional and physical injuries. She went on to become the 2011 Indiana Player of the Year and turned professional upon college graduation.  She is competing on the Symetra and Cactus Tours in 2014.

Dallas Odom (19, Anderson, S.C.) – The youngest competitor in Big Break history at age 18 when the series was filmed in 2013, Odom turned professional to compete on Big Break Florida.  She has a homemade golf swing and is from a small town in South Carolina, both traits that are similar to past Big Break champion Tommy Gainey.  She is a multiple winner in South Carolina Junior Golf Association championships, and is the nine-time defending champion at the Anderson County Championship.

Sadena Parks (23, Scottsdale, Ariz. / Spanaway, Wash.) – The first African-American golfer to compete at the University of Washington, Parks turned professional in 2013 and is competing in her second season on the Symetra Tour.  She is one of the longest hitters on the series.

Renee Skidmore (27, Jupiter, Fla. / Everett, Wash.) – One of the veteran golfers on Big Break Florida, Skidmore turned professional in 2009 and has competed on the Suncoast, Cactus and Symetra Tours the past four years.  She will be competing full-time on the Symetra Tour in 2014.

Jackie Stoelting (27, Vero Beach, Fla.) – Stoelting made the cut in the final stage of LPGA Q-School this past December, earning conditional status on the LPGA Tour for 2014 as a rookie.  That makes her the first Big Break contestant in series history to earn status on any major professional golf tour in between competing on the series and prior to that series airing.  Stoelting also is the lone contestant on the series to have competed in a major championship – she qualified and made the cut in the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open.

Lauren Sullivan (25, Fort Worth, Texas) – Sullivan’s journey is unique among the cast of Big Break Florida.  After a successful junior golf career in Texas, she did not play golf in college. Following graduation in 2011 from TCU, her passion for the game returned and she is putting her medical career on hold to pursue her dream of playing on the LPGA Tour.

Serving as co-hosts for Big Break Florida will be Tom Abbott and Melanie Collins.  Collins will make her Golf Channel debut as co-host for Big Break.  She currently serves as a television host for Yahoo! Sports.

The contestants on Big Break Florida have the opportunity to win more than $175,000 in cash and prizes during the course of the series, the largest collection of prizes in series history.  The winner of Big Break Florida will receive more than $100,000 in cash and prizes, including:

  • An exemption to the 2014 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic (June 5-8, 2014).
  • $65,000 in cash, including $5,000 courtesy of Dick’s Sporting Goods and $10,000 courtesy of Macanudo.
  • Full, exempt status to the 2015 Symetra Tour season with all entry fees paid.
  • An endorsement contract from Adams Golf, including $10,000 in cash.
  • $10,000 in car rental credit courtesy of Avis Car Rental.
  • $10,000 in travel credit courtesy of Travelocity.
  • A four-day, three-night stay at any Omni golf resort in the United States.

Filmed on location in October, 2013, the series will unfold at Omni Amelia Island Plantation’s three award-winning golf courses – Oak Marsh, Ocean Links and Long Point Golf Courses.  Oak Marsh Golf Course, a classic Pete Dye design, is ranked as one of the top 75 resort courses in the U.S. by Golf Digest and as one of “Florida’s 50 Finest Courses” by Travel & Leisure.  Ocean Links Golf Course, a Bobby Weed design, features five oceanfront holes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and winds through six miles of natural sand dunes and seaside terrain that is unique to Amelia Island.  Long Point Golf Course is a Tom Fazio design that features rolling fairways winding through three distinctive settings: marshlands, thick oak and pine forest, and scenic oceanfront dunes. 

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.  On Big Break Florida, the competitors will be subject to skills challenges from tee-to-green, including two of the series’ signature challenges, the popular “Glass Break” and “Flop Wall” challenges.  One contestant will be eliminated each week, with the last player standing awarded her Big Break, an opportunity to compete on the LPGA Tour.

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. 

Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, Big Break VII: Reunion champion and PGA TOUR professional, captured his first PGA TOUR victory in 2012 at The McGladrey Classic and is playing full-time on the PGA TOUR.  2013 Solheim Cup team member Gerina Piller (Big Break Prince Edward Island competitor), 2011 Solheim Cup team member Ryann O’Toole (Big Break Sandals Resorts competitor) and 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team member Kristy McPherson (Big Break VI: Trump National competitor) are currently playing full-time on the LPGA Tour.  Several other past Big Break competitors are currently competing on the PGA TOUR or LPGA Tour, including Matt Every, Kim Welch and Nicole Smith.

Become a fan of Big Break on Facebook at: facebook.com/GolfChannel.BigBreak

Follow Big Break on Twitter @BigBreak

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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.