Like each final from the previous four Big Break series, Cho and Prange would settle it not with putting, chipping or driving challenges, but with an 18-hole match play final. And to the winner go the spoils: an exemption into the LPGA Tours Safeway Classic in August, an equipment endorsement contract from Bridgestone, a $10,000 prize package from Golfsmith and a brand new Chrysler Crossfire Roadster.
Im going to bring my A game, said Prange on the start of her match with Cho. It will be a great match. One of us is going to have to beat the other person.
I think it will be interesting to see how we handle the pressure, said Cho. I think that Ashley has a way of showing her confidence and shes more aggressive but I dont let that intimidate me at all because bottom line is youve got to get the ball in the hole.
With that, Cho hit the opening drive and found the fairway, as did Prange who followed her off the tee box. Prange looked to have a big advantage after knocking her approach to within 7 feet of the pin. Cho, who was looking at a 30-footer, got the fireworks going by draining her long birdie putt and immediately putting the pressure back on Prange. Prange, however, didnt blink as she rolled in her putt to halve the hole. AS thru 1.
For Jeanne to come up and make that putt is showing that shes down here to play and then for Ashley to back it up ' she had to have full confidence in order to make that putt because after watching a 30-foot putt go in, making that 7-footer to tie is hard. This is going to be a battle, said former contestant Kim Lewellen, who was watching the proceedings with the other ousted ladies.
At the second, both players kept up the fine play as each found the green in regulation and had makeable birdie putts. Each came up short with their efforts and settled for a pair of pars. AS thru 2.
Cho finally was the first to draw blood when she got up and down at the par-5 third for birdie and watched as Prange nearly skulled her approach into the water and then was unable to recover. Cho 1-up thru 3.
The lead didnt last very long for Cho, as she dumped her tee ball at the par-3 fourth into the water. After dropping and making a double bogey 5, Prange easily made a bogey and squared the match. AS thru 4.
Both players then matched pars on the next three holes, although Prange did have two golden opportunities to grab the lead. At the fifth, her downhill 15 footer did a horseshoe around the hole that denied her a 1-up lead. Then at the seventh, she stuck her approach to within 7 feet but again couldnt get the putt to drop. AS thru 7.
Opportunity missed, recalled Prange. I was really mad at myself after that. I got pretty fired up.
Luckily still all square for the match, Cho finally stumbled at the par-3 eighth. Both players had found the putting surface but Cho badly judged the speed and break on her first putt and left herself with a tough 7 footer to save par. With Prange in with par, Cho pulled her putt left to give Prange her first lead of the day. Prange 1-up thru 8.
Disaster again struck Cho at the par-5 ninth. With Prange almost seemingly out of the hole due to an atrocious lie for her third shot, she recovered brilliantly by hitting her fourth shot to within inches of the cup for a conceded par. Meanwhile, Cho was just off the green in two and needed an up-and-down to even the match. She chunked her chip, then blew her subsequent chip well past the hole and ultimately missed the comebacker to give Prange the hole. Prange 2-up thru 9.
Things really started to get away from Cho as she made her third bogey in a row at the 10th to fall 3-down. It was more of the same at the 11th, as Prange converted an easy two-putt for par then watched again as Cho made a mess of things. Playing from the fairway, Cho came up short of the green and then left her chip well shy of the hole. Needing to make her putt, Cho never really threatened the hole. Prange 4-up thru 11.
Needing to stop the bleeding and try to get the momentum shifted in her direction, Cho hit a poor shot into a bunker at the par-5 12th but was able to salvage a par and a halve of the hole. Prange 4-up thru 12.
Needing a miracle turnaround to get back into the ballgame, Cho could not shake off the nerves at the par-3 13th. Her tee shot landed in the bunker and she was unable to get up and down for par, while Prange kept up the solid play and made an easy par and a win of the hole. Prange 5-up thru 13 and goes dormie.
I was so nervous. My eyes actually started watering up on that putt on me because of how freaked out I was over this putt, recalled Prange, who was on the verge of victory. Im like, this putt could change my life. This is probably this most important putt Ive ever had.
Her last putt found the bottom of the cup and suddenly Prange was crowned champion of The Big Break V: Hawaii.
Its over. I came here to do want I wanted to do and Oh my God, I did it, said an emotional Prange. I think it just all caught up with me all with that last putt dropping.
I want to keep doing this. I want to chase my dreams. I want to get on the LPGA Tour, said a disappointed Cho.
Oh my God, is this really happening. No, this is a dream, said Prange. I was in shock, I was excited, I was happy. I was in a whirlwind. It was a million emotions in one.
Big Break V: Hawaii ' Final 18 Hole Match
After all the challenges and eliminations, it came down to Jeanne Cho and Ashley Prange battling it out on the season finale of The Big Break V ' Hawaii.