After breaking glass, hitting over and around walls and pitching to greens for points instead of birdies, Denny Hepler (Warsaw, Ind) and Bri Vega (North Andover, Mass.) emerged as champions of The Big Break VI: Trump National.
For his efforts, Hepler received exemptions into the 2007 Turtle Bay Championship and the 2007 Bank of America Championship on the Champions Tour, as well as waived entry fees in six events on the 2007 Heartland Players Senior Tour. Vega earned exemptions into both the 2007 SBS Open at Turtle Bay and the 2007 Longs Drugs Challenge on the LPGA Tour, as well as waived entry fees for the 2007 Duramed FUTURES Tour season.
The mens match was the more dramatic of the two. Hepler was 5-up after nine holes and appeared to be headed for an easy victory.
Mitchell, though, had other plans. The Texan won the first three holes on the back nine of Trump National Golf Course, Los Angeles to close the margin to only 2-down.
I kept leaking oil and he kept bringing it, was how Helper summed up the turn of events.
Heplers lead returned to 3-up after a par on No. 14. Mitchell, however, refused to go away by making birdie to win the par-3 15th hole.
After trading pars, Hepler had only a five-foot par putt to halve No. 17 and give him The Big Break VI title. But as was the case for much of the match, his putter let him down and his once commanding lead shrunk to 1-up.
The pressure was on me not to lose it, Hepler said. I had this thing halfway in my pocket all day and it was starting to fall out onto the ground. I was playing not to lose.
On the dramatic par-4 18th hole, the Hoosiers putter once again was his undoing as Hepler suffered a three-putt bogey to lose the hole and allow Mitchells par to extend the match.
It was the first time all day I felt I had a chance to win, said Mitchell.
Hepler quickly put and end to Mitchells optimism on the 19th hole of the match. Playing No. 18 once again, he calmly stroked a birdie putt in the hole to win the match put an end to what could have been a messy defeat.
I hit it dead solid and halfway there it was tracking, Hepler said of the winning putt. What a relief.
In the ladies match, Vega ended the proceedings with a birdie on No. 17 and was promptly was showered with a show of support from the female contestants.
They came charging up to the green, took my shoes off ' which was considerate- and carried me to the water and tossed me in, Vega said of the victory celebration. I won and that was it.
As late in the match as No. 14, the two ladies were all-square. Vega took control from that point on. After a Dwyer bogey, Vega birdied Nos. 15 and 17 to win the the female portion of The Big Break VI.
And finally, as a surprise to the contestants, in next Tuesdays finale (10 p.m. ET) the male and female champions will be joined by the eliminated contestants to compete for a chance to get into Trumps wallet! The ultimate winner of the match also will become the owner of an all new 2007 Chrysler Aspen - Chryslers first full-sized SUV.