At the spectacular Turtle Bay Resort on the island of Oahu to be exact, with the 11 competitors set to battle one another for the chance of winning a coveted exemption into the LPGA Tours Safeway Classic in August. The winner would also receive a Bridgestone contract, a Chrysler Crossfire car, and a developmental package that will cover traveling expenses and entrance fees into Futures Tour events.
The sun was setting and it was just perfect. And then we had two hot Hawaiian guys come out and dance and it was just great, said teaching professional Jo D. Duncan, on her welcome to Hawaii.
The smiles, however, quickly turned to looks of anxiety as co-host Vince Cellini informed the ladies that amidst all their excitement someone was going to be eliminated from the show the very next day. It was the first time in Big Break history that a competitor was to be sent packing following the first day of golf challenges.
The next morning, with the waves from Oahus north shore crashing nearby, the ladies nervously gathered in front of the Big Breaks signature rock to see what was in store for the day.
They would begin with the challenge that has become synonymous with the Big Break series: breaking glass frames. Co-host Stephanie Sparks joined Cellini in telling the 11 competitors that whoevers pane was the last to be broken would win the first exemption into the following show. From there, they would move on to two more challenges until one unlucky contestant would be saying their quick goodbyes from paradise.
Everyone got a little bit more focused and a little more serious, remarked Nikki DiSanto from California. Because everybody wants to win.
Whats the first thing you dont want to do on the first day ' go home, added another competitor bracing for the days events.
As the sound of glass shattering began to pick up, several girls fell by the wayside and a few players started to take things a bit personally.
Oh, theres a bunch of women ' theres bound to be cat fights, noted Katie Ruhe, herself a Futures Tour player.
Jo D. suddenly got hot and quickly turned it into a two woman race between herself and Becky Lucidi, a former U.S. Womens Amateur champ. Jo D. couldnt however finish the deal and watched as Lucidi turned the tables and broke the final frame to claim the first spot in the next show.
With 10 players remaining, the ladies moved on to a long drive challenge that featured five two-player showdowns ' each player taking only one shot apiece - with the five winners gaining exemptions.
I was more nervous on that shot than I was during LPGA Q-School, said Ruhe about her nerve-racking but ultimately successful tee shot in the long drive challenge.
She wasnt alone in feeling the anxiety, as a few of the girls couldnt keep the ball in play and failed to win exemptions. It was now down to five players fighting for four spots in a short game challenge.
With the short game challenge, the players had two designated areas from which to hit a shot. The player closest to the pin on the first shot would win instant immunity and move on, with play continuing until it came down to the final three.
Kristina Tucker of Sweden nestled her attempt from the first area to within three feet and happily was safe from elimination.
Delasin followed Tucker onto the next show with her clutch pitch at the second leaving just three competitors ' Duncan, DiSanto and Dana Lacey from Australia.
The final challenge of the day to see who stayed and who was sent packing, had the trio play one hole of sudden death ' highest score goes home.
Unfortunately I drew No. 1 again. Super intimidating tee shot, so I was not happy about that, at all, said DiSanto on the order of play in the sudden death.
All three were safe off the tee, but only Duncan and Lacey found the green on their approach shots. DiSanto, from well off the green, recovered well knocking her pitch to 4 feet. Lacey rolled her birdie putt to within 5 feet, while Duncan too was a bit tentative with her birdie effort, leaving herself about 6 feet short. Duncan fired first and missed, then watched as Lacey calmly rolled home her par putt to guarantee herself a spot on the next show. DiSanto then had a putt to join the others but pushed her effort to the right to set up another sudden death playoff hole with Duncan.
Im a little frustrated with myself and when I get mad at myself I tend to get even a little more tense, said DiSanto on the pressure of the sudden death playoff.
Both competitors were safe off the tee although Duncans ball did not travel the distance she wanted, forcing her to hit a long iron approach over water guarding the front of the green. Luckily, her approach barely flew the hazard.
I didnt catch it as much as I liked (her second shot) and almost ended the show right there, recalled Duncan.
DiSanto's following approach drifted left, coming to rest just off the left edge of the green. Both players then hit somewhat poor chip shots, Duncan leaving herself a good 18 feet form the hole and DiSanto to about 10 feet.
Duncan's putt for par again came up short, setting the stage for her competitor. DiSanto took her time to line up the putt, then calmly rolled in the winner to stave off elimination.
It was absolutely shocking. You dont ever expect to lose but when it happens, it catches you off guard, said the departing Duncan. This was way more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I never had my heart beat so many times in my throat.
The Big Break V: Hawaii airs each Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET), while Big Break V: All Access airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET), as part of the networks Top Shelf Wednesday lineup of premium programming.