Sudden Death Fight to the Finish

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The Big BreakEditor's Note: The Golf Channel aired the seventh episode of its original series, The Big Break, Tuesday in which a group of scratch golfers vie in a weekly showdown of golf skills challenges. Each week one contestant will be eliminated until there is just one man left standing on the tee box. 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.
 
With the group of contestants now cut in half, the players began to realize that they had to start depending on good golf shots, and not so much on luck, in order to survive. But what they didnt know was what type of challenges the day had in store. And that for two players, sudden death was knocking on the door to elimination.
 
I feel like Ive got a pretty well-rounded game. My strength is my mind, but were in survival mode; youre just trying to survive, noted Justin Peters. Youve got to be patient though, but I know if I hit the shots Im capable of then Im going to be hard to beat.
 
In the skills challenge, Golf Channel Troubleshooter Rick Smith informed the players what theyve been waiting to hear all along ' that the mulligan they would be playing for was to be won by playing actual golf. Each player would play a par-5, tee to green, with the lowest score winning the mulligan and an Golden Tee video game.
 
Randy Block swingThe tee shots were mixed, with one (Mark Farnham) finding trees on the left, one (Randy Block) finding a fairway bunker, another (Craig Pawling) landing in the left rough and two (Justin Peters and Anthony Sorentino) landing safely in the fairway. Eagle was possible, but as the players reached the green birdie looked to be the score to beat. Farnham, Pawling and Sorentino were out after their up and down attempts failed to produce nothing below par. So it was down to Block and Peters, with Block having a 15-footer for birdie and Peters, whose chip nestled up to within five feet, also putting for birdie.
 
Block drained his long putt and then watched as Peters slide his by the hole, giving Block the mulligan and the video game.
 
Randy dropped a solid putt right in the center and I got up there and missed, said Peters about failing to win the prize. Its just the game of golf. Sometimes you think youre in the drivers seat and things just turn real quick.
 
With the fun skills challenge over and the elimination challenge now at hand, we were soon to discover how the players would perform by scrambling from tough situations -- combining both good decision making and good golf shots.
 
Each golfer was to play out a hole from two different trouble positions -- each around 75 yards from the pin. The player with the highest cumulative score from both holes was going home.
 
The first shot required the player to either go over a large tree or use a punch shot that flew below the branches. The second shot made the player choose which way to go around a tree to a pin tucked just over a bunker fronting the green.
 
On the first hole, Pawling, who elected to use the punch shot, failed in judging the distance as his ball missed the branches but wound up short and in the rough. His effort to get up and down also failed and he took a 4 on the hole.
 
Blocks wedge over the tree resulted in a short putt for a 2, and the lead, going into the second and last hole.
 
This time it was Farnham who found trouble as he scrambled to make a 4, just as Pawling nailed a putt for a 3 that would pit the two in a sudden death playoff.
 
Peters, Block and Sorentino were all safely onto the next show.
 
All you could do was watch, but your rooting for both of them as you know one of them is going home, said Peters about the sudden-death scenario. You just hope it ends the way it should end ' with a good golf shot.
 
On the first playoff hole, Farnham came through with a clutch up-and-down to equal Pawlings score of 3 and force a second playoff hole.
 
Mark Farnham putts to avoid eliminationBoth players were still off the green after their first shot, though, Pawling was in a much better position than Farnham. Farnham, however, hit a beautiful flop shot from a tight, downhill lie that stopped about eight feet from the hole. Pawlings ensuing chip rolled up to two-and-a-half feet and put the pressure squarely back on Farnham.
 
Farnhams putt slid agonizingly close by the cup and Pawling drained his knee-knocker to finally oust Farnham and move on the next episode.
 
I am so pleased. Craig had to make a shot to beat me, said the departing Farnham, who was the shows resident clown. I hung in around with 10 of the best, undiscovered golfers in the country for seven shows. I am really pleased that I gave it my absolute best shot!
 
Tune in next Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET) as its finally down to the final four. The elimination challenge will get emotions running high as it will pit strength against strength.
 
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