Charlie Gibson (Fortuna, Calif.) earned a second chance on The Big Break VI: Trump National as Albert Crews (Homer, La.) was eliminated by Jeff Mitchell (Llano, Texas) in a one-shot playoff in the sixth episode Tuesday night.
However, the soft spoken 54-year-old earned not only the admiration but the respect of the other contestants by drilling shots and competing with a desire fueled by regularly taking 24-hour Greyhound bus trips and hitch-hiking to mini-tour events. Those bumpy rides led to earning a spot in the 2005 U.S. Senior Open.
To the end, Crews demonstrated a faith he regularly expresses as the associate minister at the First Ebenezer Baptist Church in Homer, La. Fellow competitor Laura London (Scottsdale, Ariz.) teamed with him in several episodes and was moved to tears at the result of the playoff. With a hug and the assuring words that helping her through the series might be the reason he was selected for the show, Crews showed why he is a winner still in search of his Big Break he richly deserves.
When I get back home they will probably call me into the network studios and the newspaper, said Crews, who aspires to play the Champions Tour. Hopefully I did enough in the show where someone got a real good look at me and I can find a good sponsor.
With Crews thinking about life off the series, Gibson is back on the show. And it all came thanks to Donald Trump.
Previously eliminated in the third show, Gibson was granted new life when Trump stepped in and once again changed the direction of the series. In a surprise move, he announced that the four men who had been eliminated from the show would participate in Playback Challenge. The winner would earn the right to compete in an Elimination Challenge with the five males still on the show.
The Playback Challenge pitted Gibson, Sid Corliss (Cumming, Ga.), Rocky Rockett (Gastonia N.C.) and Gavin Slabbert (Orange Park, Fla.) in a stroke play match on Nos. 14-16 at Trump National Golf Course, Los Angeles.
Playing steady, Gibson made three pars to force a playoff with Slabbert. On the first extra hole, No. 16, both made par before Gibson sank an 8-foot birdie putt for the victory on the second extra hole.
Slabbert said he was hoping for a miss while Gibson was sad to eliminate him, but was quick to add he was, happy about finally performing on the show.
His work was just beginning because five men with wounded egos fighting for survival was not a welcoming task.
In the previous show, the men lost to the females in a five-hole match play competition 4 ' 2. The victory in the battle of the sexes allowed the ladies to watch the action in episode six while the men fought off elimination.
The format for the Elimination Challenge was three rounds in which the competitors hit two shots from different tee boxes located 165 yards, 150 yards and 130 yards from the green on the par-3 17th hole. Point circles were on the green and competitors earned points depending on where their ball came to rest.
Making the Target Challenge even more difficult was a strong wind blowing off the Pacific Ocean that made club selection guesswork. From the 165-yard location players hit clubs ranging from a 7-iron to a 3-iron.
Youre hitting two balls from three different locations in the wind, explained Gary Ostrega (Westfield, N.J.). It was very difficult.
Gibson got off to a fast start, tallying five points to tie for the lead on the first location. After being shut out on the second round, he inked one point on his final shot to secure a spot back on the show.
Crews, however, wasnt as fortunate. Befuddled by the wind, his two point total through the first two locations was a mere one point better than Mitchell.
On his final two shots, Crews managed only one point giving Mitchell a chance at staving off elimination by earning three points on his final two swings.
All I was tying to do was get a thought in my brain to allow me to do what I know I can do, said Mitchell, who has one PGA TOUR victory to his credit.
The Texan put both shots on the green for two points and extend the Elimination Challenge to a one-shot playoff from 130 yards. Going first, Crews ball found the two-point circle to once again put the pressure on Mitchell. He responded with his best shot of the day to earn three points and a spot on the next show.
The remaining contestants are still vying for the coveted tournament exemptions and other prizes. The female champion will receive an exemption into the 2007 SBS Open at Turtle Bay and the 2007 Longs Drugs Challenge, as well as waived entry fees for the 2007 Duramed FUTURES Tour season. The winning male contestant will receive exemptions into the 2007 Turtle Bay Championship and the 2007 Bank of America Championship, as well as waived entry fees in six events on the 2007 Heartland Players Senior Tour.