At the start of Episode 3 The Big Break IV, co-host Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks informed the contestants that they would be bypassing the Mulligan Challenge this week and dive head first into Ryder Cup-style singles matches to see which team would win immunity until the next show.
Each match would be just one hole and the team with the least points after the five matches would be forced into the Elimination Challenge.
We were fired up! That was exciting, said T.J Valentine on the prospects of matching up in singles. Ryder Cup format, one against one, match play!
Starting it out for the U.S. was Tommy Gainey, who proceeded to push his tee shot way right into trouble. He wisely took his medicine by punching out into the fairway and then hit a solid approach into the green for a possible par save. He then indeed drained his 15 footer to make par to edge out his opponent, Edoardo Gardino, who couldnt get up and down from the greenside bunker.
Huge boost! We have a lead for the first time in the entire competition. Lets feed off that, recalled Valentine on the USAs good fortune.
In the second match, Frances Richard Gillot made a great par-saving 18 footer to tie David Carnell to claim a half a point and keep Europe from falling 2-down early.
That brought back life in the Europeans, observed Randall Hunt of the USA. Definitely a big momentum swing in the match.
Hunt then went out and halved his match with Guy Woodman to keep the Americans ahead by a point with two matches remaining.
Disaster then struck the Europeans when Marty Wilde Jr. hit a stone-cold shank off the tee that ultimately resulted in an unplayable lie and eventually the hole and the entire match. The Americans had finally won their first challenge against their European counterparts. Not that it made Wilde Jr. feel any better.
They (teammates) were all so nice and that made me feel even worse, confided Wilde Jr. on how he was received by his teammates after his poor performance. Because I would have rathered they just come up to me and say, 'You are rubbish!'
The Europeans now had the unfortunate task of facing the Elimination Challenge for the first time, something that they all had mixed feelings about.
Nobody wants to beat a teammate, but at the same time nobody wants to be the one who has to leave, said Gardino.
In the Elimination Challenge, the European team was going to have their wedge games tested as each contestant was going to be given two attempts from three different distances. Three circles were painted around the hole with the smallest circle worth five points, the intermediate circle worth three points and getting inside the biggest circle being worth just one point.
They then moved to the 100-yard range and Blankvoort kept up the pressure on the others with six strong points to almost ensure his spot on the next show.
It was now down to the 80-yard spot and a battle was taking shape as to who would be sent packing. Woodman, Gillot, Gardino and Bladon all were still on the hot seat.
Its (80-yard wedge) not that simple when youre feeling it, said Woodman on trying to stay alive in the competition. But I just thought, Hey look, if you cant get two in that area you dont deserve to go through.
When the dust settled, Woodman and Bladon were safe from elimination but Gillot and Gardino remained tied for last. A sudden death chip off was now in order.
Gardino fired first and came up big, posting a pair of threes to put the pressure squarely on Gillots shoulders.
Gillot, however, could not match or beat Gardino as he totaled just four points, thus taking himself off the show.
Somebodys gotta go, said the USAs Gainey on Gillot's departure. And better him than me, or any of my teammates,
It was big emotion, big emotion, said the departing Gillot. It was really sad to leave my friends.
The Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe airs each Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET), while Big Break IV: All Access airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET), as part of the networks Top Shelf Wednesday lineup of premium programming.