Its Down to Simple Arithmetic

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The Big BreakEditor's Note: The Golf Channel aired the ninth episode of its original series, The Big Break, Tuesday in which a group of scratch golfers vie in a weekly showdown of skills challenges. Each week one contestant will be eliminated until there is just one man left standing. That lucky winner will get the Big Break of his golfing career - exemptions into four Canadian Tour events airing on The Golf Channel in 2004.
 
As the show draws closer to its conclusion, it has become simple arithmetic ' easy as 1, 2, 3. One contestant would become the eventual winner; two episodes yet to be played out; and just three players remained.
 
And it was also obvious that the final threesome understood what was at stake, and the importance of the Canadian Tour exemptions awarded to the winner.
 
Ive been working my butt off trying to break through and get to that next level, and I think this experience is going to help me break through that barrier, said Justin Peters. The last three years have been a little rough being on the mini-tours, and I dont enjoy it there. I think this is really going to help.
 
With the wind and the rain continuing to assault the Treetops Resort in northern Michigan, the players had to ignore the elements and try to focus on the days first skills challenge, which was to test the their abilities from 100 yards and in.
 
Each player would hit a wedge shot from four separate distances ' 40 yards, 55 yards, 70 yards and 85 yards ' to a pin on the green. The player that had the shortest total distance from the pin after all four shots would win the mulligan and a 46-inch Sony television.
 
After each player hit their first three wedge shots, Craig Pawling had twice overshot the pin to distances that took him out of the running for the mulligan. That left only Anthony Sorentino and Peters to do battle on the final shot - the 40 yard approach.
 
Justin Peters wedge playI had to hit first and it was a scary little shot because most 40 yard shots are hard, especially in those conditions, recalled Peters, whose subsequent shot finished 14 feet 7 inches from the hole.
 
Sorentino needed to get inside 12 feet to snatch away the prizes from Peters, but a self-admitted 'nervous swing' caused his final attempt to fly well past the pin, giving Justin the win.
 
With his mulligan in tow, Peters and the other two competitors made their way to the elimination challenge where the old saying drive for show, putt for dough would be quite evident.
 
Each player had to hit a total of six putts from a circle surrounding the hole. Each 8-foot putt would be hit from a different position, with the players holing out their turn. The player with the highest score would then be eliminated.
 
Winning tournaments comes down to putting. You dont win tournaments without making crucial putts, without putting well, said Peters. I thought it was a great challenge.
 
Its not cool. Ive been putting terrible and I wasnt fired up, countered a half-kidding Sorentino about the challenge.
 
After both Pawling and Sorentino made opening 2s, Peters applied some early pressure by knocking down his first attempt for a 1 and the lead.
 
Sorentino quickly answered at the second, holing out from the eight foot circle as Peters and Pawling posted 2s.
 
None of the trio were able to hole a putt on their next three attempts as they struggled to read the break and speed in the soggy conditions.
 
We had a different type of putt on each hole ' uphill, downhill, left to right, right to left, spoke Peters afterwards.
 
Craig Pawling just missed outIt was now down to the final putt and Pawling needed to hole his to tie things up and force a playoff. But his left to right putt slid by the hole and suddenly he was on the outside looking in, setting up a final episode showdown between Peters and Sorentino.
 
It hurts to see someone have to go, said Sorentino. It hurts because he was a super nice guy.
 
Im going to be drawing on a lot of images, thoughts and feelings I had from here this week, said the departing Pawling. And I really want to thank everyone for the opportunity. It was awesome.
 
Be sure to tune in next week for the dramatic conclusion of The Big Break. The Golf Channel will air a special 3-hour finale beginning Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.
 
The two remaining contestants will battle head-to-head in a match play round to determine who will walk away with the grand prize - four exemptions on the 2004 Canadian Tour. The program will feature a live in-studio contestant reunion and the unveiling of The Big Break champion. Following the broadcast, an additional hour will be dedicated to viewer calls and emails.
 
Related Links:
  • Video - Watch Craig Pawling's exit interview
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