Golf Channel Set to Kick Off Inaugural Big Break Invitational Tournament at Reynolds Plantation

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A field of 40 former Big Break competitors will go head-to-head in full tournament conditions for the first time at the inaugural Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, a four-day invitational tournament airing live on Golf Channel Tuesday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. ET.

Taking place at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation  in Lake Oconee, Ga., the field of 40 (20 men and 20 women) represent 20 seasons of Big Break, including several of the series’ most memorable competitors who are playing on the world’s top professional tours.  The four-round tournament will feature a Modified Stableford format for the first two rounds, followed by match play (third round), and concluding with stroke play (final round) to determine the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation champion. 15 Big Break champions are entered in the field for Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation.

The field includes:

Men

Robbie Biershenk                 Big Break Indian Wells (2010)

David Byrne                         Big Break Indian Wells (2010)  Champion

Brian Cooper                        Big Break Greenbrier (2012); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)

Don Donatello                      Big Break II (2004)

Kent Eger                              Big Break Indian Wells (2010)

Tony Finau                           Big Break Disney Golf (2009)

Tommy Gainey                     Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe (2005); Big Break VII: Reunion (2007) Champion

Derek Gillespie                     Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009) Champion

Kip Henley                            Big Break II (2004) Champion

Hugo Leon                            Big Break X: Michigan (2008)

Brent Long                            Big Break Mexico (2013)

Mark Murphy                        Big Break Ireland (2011) Champion

James Nitties                        Big Break Mesquite (2007)

Justin Peters                         Big Break I (2003) Champion

Jerry Rice                             Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013) Champion

Anthony Rodriguez              Big Break Mesquite (2008); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)            

Isaac Sanchez                      Big Break Greenbrier (2012); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)  Champion

Mark Silvers                         Big Break Greenbrier (2012) Champion

Julien Trudeau                     Big Break Ireland (2011)

Jay Woodson                        Big Break Mexico (2013)

Women

Anya Alvarez                        Big Break Atlantis (2012)

Mallory Blackwelder             Big Break Ireland (2011); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)

Sara Brown                           Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)

Taylor Collins                       Big Break Mexico (2013) Champion

Selanee Henderson              Big Break Atlantis (2012)

Stefanie Kenoyer                  Big Break Mexico (2013); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)        

Tonya McCall                       Big Break Florida (2014)

Kristy McPherson                 Big Break VI: Trump National (2006)

Mary Narzisi                         Big Break Florida (2014)

Carling Nolan                       Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010)  Champion

Blair O’Neal                          Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)  Champion

Ryann O’Toole                     Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010)

Gerina Piller                          Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009)       

Elena Robles                        Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)

Sadena Parks                       Big Break Florida (2014)

Renee Skidmore                  Big Break Florida (2014)

Jackie Stoelting                   Big Break Florida (2014) Champion

Emily Talley                        Big Break Mexico (2013); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013) Champion

Maiya Tanaka                      Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010)

Kim Welch                           Big Break Ka’anapali (2008) Champion

 

The field entered into Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation represent several of the most successful players coming out of Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series.  On the men’s side:

  • Tommy Gainey (Big Break VII: Reunion Champion) was the first Big Break competitor to earn full PGA TOUR status after Big Break, and won the PGA TOUR’s McGladrey Classic in 2012. 
  • Tony Finau (Big Break Disney Golf) earned his PGA TOUR card for 2015 after capturing his first professional victory this year on the Web.com Tour.
  • James Nitties (Big Break Mesquite) is currently playing full time on the Web.com Tour, and is a past Web.com Tour winner who earned PGA TOUR status in 2012. 
  • Jay Woodson (Big Break Mexico) has several top-5 finishes and one win on the 2014 NGA Tour. 
  • Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice, who along with fellow Big Break teammates Isaac Sanchez and Emily Talley won Big Break NFL Puerto Rico in 2013, also is entered in the field.

On the women’s side:

  • Kristy McPherson (Big Break VI: Trump National), Ryann O’Toole (Big Break Sandals Resorts) and Gerina Piller (Big Break Prince Edward Island) are all currently playing full time on the LPGA Tour and are past U.S. Solheim Cup Team members – 2009, 2011 and 2013, respectively. 
  • Sadena Parks (Big Break Florida) earned full LPGA Tour status in 2015 after winning two Symetra Tour events over the course of three weeks in July in only her second full season as a professional. 
  • Mallory Blackwelder (Big Break Ireland; Big Break NFL Puerto Rico) won her first professional tournament on the Symetra Tour this year in April and earned full status on the LPGA Tour for 2015.
  • Jackie Stoelting (Big Break Florida champion) earned full status on the LPGA Tour for 2015 by finishing No. 3 in the Symetra Tour standings in 2014.
  • Tonya McCall (Big Break Florida) won her first professional event on the Cactus Tour in April in her first full year back on the professional golf circuit.

Fifteen past Big Break champions are entered in Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, including Justin Peters and Kip Henley, the series’ first two champions, in 2003 and 2004.  Peters currently is playing full time on the mini tour circuit and PGA TOUR Canada, while Henley is a full-time caddie on the PGA TOUR.

Tom Abbott, host of Golf Channel’s Big Break reality competition series, will host the tournament telecast.  PGA TOUR winner Matt Gogel will join Abbott in the broadcast booth as lead analyst.  LPGA Tour veteran and Big Break co-host Paige Mackenzie will serve as an analyst and course reporter during the week.  Also reporting from the course will be Phil Parkin, former PGA Championship winner (2002) Rich Beem, and former PLAYERS Champion (2002) Craig Perks.

Beginning a new multi-year relationship between Golf Channel and Reynolds Plantation, Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation will take place at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation, the famed golf resort community in Greensboro, Ga., and will feature a $300,000 overall purse, with $100,000 going to the champion.  The Ritz Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation will serve as host resort and tournament headquarters.

Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation will air live on Golf Channel from 3-6 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Sept. 30 – Friday, Oct. 3.  The first two rounds will feature a Modified Stableford format (players earning points for birdie and higher and negative points for bogey and lower), with the 12 men and 12 women earning the most points after the first two rounds making the cut.  Thursday’s third round will feature match play (six men vs. six men / six women vs. six women), with 12 match-play winners advancing to Friday’s final round of 18-holes of stroke play.

For the past 21 seasons, Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series has proven to be the launching pad of many aspiring professional golfers looking to take that next step in their golf careers. The Big Break concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  During the series’ 21 seasons, past Big Break champions have won tournament exemptions to compete on some of the world’s top professional circuits, including the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour and Canadian Tour.