Brown, 25, finished “on the number” at 2-over-par to earn her LPGA Tour card at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.
“I was trying to stay in it and take it one shot at a time,” said Brown. “But, to be honest, on hole 17, I told my caddy I was either going to puke or cry. Neither one would have been good. I was nervous to say the least.”
On Monday, she and her boyfriend Derek Radley – who also is her swing coach – are traveling to Spain for the final stage of the Ladies European Tour Q-School this week. Her goal is to achieve full-time status on both the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour for 2011.
Competing on the LPGA Tour will be a far cry from one year ago, when Brown nearly quit the game that she has been playing competitively since age eight. She hung up her golf clubs after enduring a “sophomore slump” on the LPGA Futures Tour, and reconsidered golf as a career during the off-season.
“I didn’t touch my clubs, not once,” explained Brown back in January during filming of Big Break Sandals Resorts. “Those two months allowed me to clear my head and re-address my goals not only professionally, but also personally.”
It wasn’t until after the filming of Big Break Sandals Resorts (she finished third) that her passion and love for the game returned, and erased any doubts she had about golf as a career. She returned as a contestant on Big Break Dominican Republic in June that recently concluded its on-air run on Golf Channel.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better experience than what I went through on Big Break in the Bahamas,” said Brown during filming of Big Break Dominican Republic. “I fell back in love with the game. It erased any doubts in my mind that this is what I want to do with my life.”
In January, Brown told Golf Channel that she had a goal of being on the LPGA Tour in five years. On Sunday, she achieved her goal four years ahead of schedule.
Joining Brown on the LPGA Tour in 2011 will be Big Break Prince Edward Island contestant Gerina Mendoza and Big Break Sandals Resorts contestant Ryann O’Toole. Mendoza had a career year on the 2010 LPGA Futures Tour, making 15 of 17 cuts that included six top-10 finishes and a career-best runner-up finish at the ING New England Golf Classic. She earned full-time status on the LPGA Tour in 2011 by finishing fifth on the LPGA Futures Tour Money List. O’Toole earned partial status on the LPGA Tour by finishing seventh on the 2010 LPGA Futures Tour Money List, highlighted by her first two victories as a professional. The three will join Kristy McPherson (Big Break VI: Trump National) – a member of the victorious 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup Team – as the four Big Break alums with 2011 LPGA Tour membership.
Carling Coffing (Big Break Sandals Resorts Champion) became the first Big Break winner in the series’ 14-season history on Sunday to earn a paycheck in all tournament sponsor exemptions granted as a result of the victory. Coffing finished T-22 the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour on Sunday and finished 30th in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational presented by Banamex and Corona Light in November (no cut event). She also earned a sponsor exemption to compette in the CVS.pharmacy LPGA Challenge in October via the tournament after her Big Break victory, finishing T-53 in her first LPGA Tour event.
Golf Channel’s Big Break show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness. Past Big Break champions have won tournament exemptions to compete on some of the world’s top professional circuits, such as the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Nationwide Tour and Canadian Tour. Several past Big Break competitors are currently competing on the world’s top tours, including Tommy Gainey, James Nitties, Matt Every and McPherson.