ORLANDO, Fla. – The cast for “Big Break Greenbrier” was released Monday, and it features 12 men looking to find their next step on the way to playing on the PGA Tour. The series, shot and produced at the Greenbrier in W. Va., premieres Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET.
The contestants are:
Ray Beaufils (25, Phoenix/Australia): A former Rugby player who had a decorated amateur golf career in Australia, Beaufils has battled injuries and a burn out after moving to the U.S. After taking six months away from the game, he renewed his passion after playing a weekend round of golf with friends. He turned professional in 2009, won the first two professional events entered and, ultimately, earned conditional status on the Web.com Tour in 2010 before a knee injury sidelined his career. Fully recovered, Beaufils is competing on the Gateway Tour, where he is a two-time winner and has several top-10 finishes in 2012.
Derek Bohlen (27, Fountain Hills, Ariz.): Following a successful college golf career at Northern Iowa, Bohlen put his dreams to compete professionally on hold for an office job. After seeing the success of fellow Iowan Zach Johnson and having to constantly answer the question about why he gave up on golf, Bohlen switched careers and moved with his wife to Arizona in 2009 to pursue his dream. Bohlen is competing on the NGA Pro Series Tour.
Anthony Casalino (32, Yonkers, N.Y.): A PGA of America apprentice at Willow Ridge Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., Casalino is relying on his experience as a PGA of America professional to kick-start his tournament career on “Big Break Greenbrier.” Casalino, who turned his life around and focused on golf after filing for bankruptcy in 2005, recorded a best finish T-7 in the Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship in 2011 and qualified to compete in the 2012 Met Open in New York.
Rick Cochran (25, Paducah, Ky.): Nephew of Champions Tour veteran Russ Cochran, Rick is currently competing on the NGA Pro Series Tour, where he has recorded several top-10 finishes and one win in 2012. Rick is looking to follow in his famous uncle’s footsteps.
Brian Cooper (45, Phoenix/ Pittsburgh): The oldest competitor on the series, Cooper has amassed more than 30 professional victories on various professional golf tours worldwide. A two-sport athlete in college – hockey and baseball – Cooper switched to golf full-time after college, and is playing full-time on the Gateway Tour.
Liam Friedman (25, Lackawanna, N.Y.): One of two PGA of America pros competing on the series, Friedman is an assistant pro at Orchard Park Country Club in Lackawanna, N.Y. He captured the 2011 Western New York PGA Championship and competed in the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship earlier this summer. A member of the 2010 NCAA Division III National Championship golf team at Methodist, Friedman also is competing on the Golfslinger.com Tour.
Stu Gold (26, West Haven, Utah): Gold’s journey is an inspirational story of defeating personal demons and dramatically turning his life around. Once addicted to painkillers, Gold’s goal is to make it to golf’s biggest stage and share his story with others. Gold, who has been clean for more than two years, also is a new father and husband. He wants be an inspiration to family and friends who have supported him through his battles.
James Lepp (28, Abbotsford, British Columbia): A two-time winner on the Canadian Tour and a four-time All-American from the University of Washington, Lepp is returning to competitive golf in 2012 after burning out on the game and switching to the business side of golf, when he founded Kikkor Golf, a golf shoe apparel company.
Isaac Sanchez (33, Folsom, Calif.): Sanchez has overcome enormous odds in his career off the golf course. He was diagnosed with gigantism at an early age and, subsequently, had a tumor removed from his brain when he was in high school. After being surrounded by children with terminal illnesses while in the hospital, he changed his perspective on life.
Mark Silvers (25, Savannah, Ga.): Silvers competed in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, accumulated more than 15 wins on various mini tours in 2011, and has eight top-10 finishes and one win on the NGA Pro Series Tour in 2012. He is competing on Big Break with a heavy heart, as his father – who introduced him to the game at a young age – passed away just prior to the filming of the series.
Chan Song (29, Cartersville, Ga.): Older brother to Naree and Aree Song, Chan is giving competitive golf one final push in 2012 after a wrist injury sidelined his career, and he switched to the business side of golf. A three-time All-American at Georgia Tech and one of the top ranked junior golfers in the U.S., Song is looking to follow in his sisters’ footsteps. Song is competing on the mini-tour circuit and the Canadian Tour.
Michael Tobiason (28, Wilmington, Del.): A two-sport athlete (basketball and golf) in college at Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington and carding 23 collegiate golf wins, Tobiason is one of two competitors who played in a U.S. Open – the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club. Playing on the Moonlight Golf Tour, Tobiason teaches golf at Applecross Country Club in Wilmington to supplement his income.