The Odds are Improving

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The Big BreakEditor's Note: The Golf Channel aired the fifth 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 each passing competition and one player continuing to be eliminated, the odds were starting to become more apparent ' both good and bad. Good for the fact that the smaller number of contestants meant the chance of winning the Big Break was becoming more of a reality for the players.
 
But also a reality was that the odds of going home were rising and the players were becoming a little more subdued as a result.
 
The atmosphere is definitely changing. Everybody is getting a little quieter, spoke Justin Peters about the groups mood. Friendship is still there, but the competitiveness is going to start creeping through and pressure is building, the stakes are rising.
 
Added Anthony Sorentino, Now its getting closer, you can smell it a little bit. Its not going to turn into us rooting against each other at all - because it's golf. You just try to hit good golf shots.
 
Big Break - Group looks onThe first skills challenge had the contestants hitting a wedge from 90 yards out to three targets varying in size and point value within a 90-second time frame. The largest target was about 400 square feet in size and held a five-point value, the second was 225 square feet and worth 10 points. The smallest target was about the size of a small bathroom but worth a very tempting 20 points.
 
The risk/reward factor definitely had the players contemplating their approach to the shot and the all-important mulligan given to the winner of the challenge.
 
I just wanted to start off at the five pointer, get into a groove then move my aim over to the 10s and then maybe one of the last ones hit toward the 20, said Craig Pawling on his strategy. It was a timed event and Ive come to learn, for me, speed golfing doesnt exactly work with me. I get real rushed and dont make my normal swing.
 
With scores ranging from 0 to 25, Anthony Sorentino walked away with the mulligan and a pair of mountain bikes and a kayak in the process. But the fun was over, as the players waited for what was in store in the elimination challenge.
 
This elimination was designed to test their ability to control both distance and accuracy by hitting four different clubs to a pin located on a green 120 yards away. A pitching wedge, 9-iron, 8-iron and a 7-iron were to be used and the player with the highest aggregate total distance from the pin would be sent packing.
 
Watching the skills challenges on TV, Ive always watched them thinking, Id love to do something like that, it looks so fun, said an excited Peters about the shows different formats and challenges. Im having a blast hitting all these crazy shots, testing our skills.
 
Craig Pawling was the first to go and established the mark to beat with a total distance of 147 feet 10 inches. Next up was Mark Farnham and a wayward third shot cost him big-time, landing some 90 feet away from the pin. His four-shot total of 159 feet 1 inch put him in a precarious position.
 
The next four contestants all held their own, with Randy Block coming in with the shortest distance of the day, just 72 feet 0 inches. Only Jon Roddy and Sorentino remained as Farnham stood by patiently waiting for the results.
 
Big Break - Jon RoddyAfter three indifferent shots, Roddy needed to get his last ball somewhat close in order to move on and leave Farnham on the outside looking in. His knockdown 7-iron looked to be just the shot he needed until it hit a small bump on the front of the green that deflected the ball sharply away from the pin. A bad break had suddenly ended Roddys chance at the Big Break.
 
I executed the shot the way youre suppose to. It was coming in fine and then it just took that roll to the left, said a disappointed Roddy. But Ill learn from it. Thats life, its tough.
 
It was the first elimination challenge where somebody hit a pretty good shot and a funny bounce took the guy out of it, added Pawling on the breaks of the game.
 
After the challenge the popular Roddy said his goodbyes and made his way back to the cabin to pack up his things.
 
Today was the most emotional day, said Sorentino, who easily made the cut in the elimination challenge. Jon was a class kid and he was real good at golf. Hes got a great swing. Everyone was pretty sad today, everyone was bummed out.
 
With the field now pared down to six contestants be sure to tune in to The Golf Channel Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET) as the group will face some physically and mentally exhausting challenges sure to have everyone on their toes.
 
Related Links:
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