And that was exactly Gunas fate in the series tenth episode when he lost a stroke-play Elimination Challenge to Tommy Gainey. The two were sent to the Elimination Challenge by losing matches in the Immunity portion of the episode. Playing a stroke-play match on the 12th and 13th holes of the Watson Independence course at Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla., Mike Foster defeated Gainey while Ashley Gomes earned a spot in the final match by beating Gunas.
Facing elimination, Gainey, known as Two Gloves because he plays with a golf glove on each hand, and Gunas played a two-hole stroke-play Elimination Challenge on Nos. 10 and 11 of the Independence course. After each player posted a pair of pars on each hole, the duo ventured back to the tenth tee for a sudden-death playoff that ended up anything but sudden. Two holes and matching pars later, they found themselves back on the same tee with nothing decided except that neither of them really wanted to go home and were rather determined to make the finals. Gainey put and end to the match with a par on the par-5 10th hole.
For as bad as I was hitting the full shots, to come in fourth out of 16 was pretty good, Gunas said. It is very similar to kissing your sister, though, because it feels like a tie.
As soon as Gainey tapped in his a par putt to dismiss Gunas, he was thinking about playing in the finals next week.
If I play the game like I know I can, like I know how, then everything will work in my favor because Im that talented and have the ability, said Gainey, who Monday qualified to play on the PGA TOURs Wachovia Championship last week. I came here to win and Ive got one more goal to accomplish.
Foster and Gomes, however, stand in his way. The Big Break concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in challenges that test physical skills and mental toughness. During The Big Break VII, competitors will be eliminated with the last one standing crowned the winner. Each show features two to three challenges, the outcome of each influencing who stays and who goes home. Each challenge will demand precision shot-making designed to simulate conditions that players face every week on Tour.
If I was to worry about one opponent, it would be Ashley, said Gainey, who made his first appearance in the series in The Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe. She has proven time and again that she can get the job done.
Gomes isnt deterred playing with the boys or by the fact that neither of the men wants to be eliminated by a female. Not that they would have anything to be embarrassed about because the fact remains that this girl can play. She hits the tee ball deep and can be deadly with her chest high long putter.
The question is the nerves that are a factor for every Big Breaker. A contestant in The Big Break VI: Trump National, Gomes says she has a newfound motivation and the ability to better handle pressure situations. Since the experience at Trump National, Gomes made it through to the final stage of LPGA Q-School and has improved her game.
Im thrilled, shocked and excited about being in the finals and being the only girl still standing, Gomes said about her position.
Gunas departure means the remaining three contestants are competing for the grand prize. If one of the remaining male professionals is victorious, then he will earn a spot in the field of the 2007 Cox Classic on the Nationwide Tour. Should one of the females claim the title, then she will be invited to compete in the 2007 Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA on the LPGA Tour.
One thing that is almost certain, whether it is Gainey, Gomes or Foster earning an exemption, they will have to bring their A game to get the job done.