Insight on Big Break Myrtle Beach Show 4

By Big Break ProducerNovember 3, 2014, 10:19 pm

Former Big Break Ireland competitor and LPGA/Symetra Tour professional Kelly Jacques is back to lend her insight on Big Break Myrtle Beach.  Each week, Kelly will give you her thoughts on that week’s show, including what the pressure is like, since she has been there before. She also will provide you with some behind-the-scenes info on the cast – Kelly has played alongside a few of them on the Symetra Tour the past few years.  While she has no knowledge of any results on the series, she will offer up thoughts on her favorites – and some non-favorites – on Big Break Myrtle Beach.  When not providing her Big Break commentary, Kelly works for, Golf Channel’s official online tee-times provider.

Big Break Myrtle Beach: Episode Four Blog

 With the tensions rising each week, I knew week 4 was going to deliver.  However, I didn’t realize this was the episode that Anthony emerged as a full blown villain!

“Golf is a game of honor and class. If you don’t play with these, not many people will be in your corner.”

 The day started at breakfast like usual.  Eight players had a note saying to “Play Well”. Katy H and Toph got a note saying they will each captain a team of five in the first immunity challenge. It went on to say choose well as your teammates may be your ticket to immunity. I love when they get to pick their teams! I’m sure it took all the players back to grade school recess…just don’t get picked last! Toph picked his team in the following order; Jimmy, Carolin, Dave and Anthony. Katy chose her team as Tessa, Charlie, Emily and Christian. It’s no secret that no one likes Anthony and he’s not a team player, so I’m really not surprised he was chosen last. You could tell Katy picked her team based off the player, while it seemed like Toph based his picks off of friendship. I agree that allies are important, especially when it comes to staying out of elimination, but you want to make sure you are giving yourself the best possible chance for success!



 During the first immunity challenge, the teams had to choose one player at a time to go up against a player from the other team, in a one-on-one closest to the pin challenge from 115 yards away. With each win, the winning team gets to eliminate a player from the opposing team. That eliminated player has to sit out the rest of the challenge. A team is declared the winner when they have successfully eliminated everyone from the other team. The winning team automatically moves onto next week and receives a $1,000 shopping spree courtesy of Dicks Sporting Goods! Dave and Tessa were the first to square off with Tessa securing the first win, hitting it 12’11”. The winning team chose to eliminate Carolin. She was upset she didn’t get to hit. That’s only a testament to how good they think she is! Next up Charlie beat Toph, Katy beat Jimmy and Emily beat Anthony. At this point, Jimmy is the only player left on his team. He had to knock out every member of Katy’s team in order to earn his team immunity. He started off strong, beating Christian and Katy. Emily was up, and stuffed it to 8’11”. This was good enough to take out Jimmy, and earn her whole team immunity! In doing so, Charlie made it through another week without using his super immunity. Remember, this is his security blanket he won in episode one. If he finds himself in an elimination challenge before the final four, he can use this to avoid the elimination! I really enjoyed this challenge, but I was rooting for Jimmy to have an awesome come-back. Maybe next time!



 Toph, Jimmy, Carolin, Dave and Anthony move on to the second Immunity Challenge. This week they had to hit as many shots from 50-150 yards, which each shot being longer than the previous. The player who hits the most shots wins immunity and $2,500 courtesy of Macanudo! The player with the fewest shots will go straight to elimination. Anthony is up first and hits 9 consecutively longer shots. He played this almost perfectly up until his 10th shot. He had 30 more yards to work with but hit his last shot 13 yards shorter than his previous. However, nine is a great number! Jimmy was up second and ended up with 7 shots. He also had 30 more yards to work with but failed to get his 8th shot further by one yard. That has to be disappointing!  Carolin was up next and hit 5 shots successfully. She admitted she just didn’t club up when she needed. I felt bad for her because she knew she made a mental error and was extremely disappointed in herself. Golf is such a tough, emotional game….and then there is Big Break. She is normally pretty level headed on the course, but Big Break will bring out emotions that aren’t normally there. Dave was next and secured his spot in elimination with a measly score of two. Come on Dave! I understand you are trying to get the max number by keeping the yards between each shot small…but give yourself a chance! Toph rounded out the group with another strong showing! He tied Anthony at nine and put on a distance control clinic for the other competitors!  He regularly practices this ladder drill and believes this is a must for tour players. I couldn’t agree more. To break the tie, Anthony and Toph had a one-shot playoff. The player who hit it closest to the 50-yard line without going under wins immunity. Anthony hits it to 17’1” while Toph hit a nearly perfect shot to 6’11”. You can tell his style of practice really paid off for him here! Congrats Toph!



 It didn’t take long after his playoff loss for Anthony to run his mouth. He said, “Up for elimination, I would hate to send another person home”. He then proceeds to tell Dave that he has 3 people to choose from; essentially taking himself out of the equation. I just don’t get it. Anthony believes this is what being competitive looks like. News flash…you can be competitive and respectful at the same time!!! What a concept!

 Of course Dave chose Anthony to join him in elimination. I honestly feel like he didn’t even have a choice. I don’t care how good of a player someone may be. If they threaten you like that…you pick them! On the putting green Anthony goes on to wish Dave luck because this means more to Dave than it does for himself since he is a younger. That’s just going too far. You don’t insult others to build yourself up. I feel like that is exactly what he is doing here. I understand he is young, but that’s no excuse!

 For elimination, Anthony and Dave battled it out in two holes of stroke play. The first hole was a 364 yard par-4. Dave hit driver down the left side of the fairway in perfect position. Andrew found his drive in the left waste bunker. Dave hit first and flew the green from 114 yards while Anthony chunked his approach leaving himself an awkward distance. What does Anthony do??!! He hits an absolutely perfect chip and makes it for birdie!! He then looked over to the other players and pointed. Almost like warning them to take him seriously. Dave made a great 6-foot comeback putt for par which put him one down with one to play. The second hole was a 516-yard par 5. Anthony was up first and snapped it into the left bunker. With the door open, Dave blocks his drive right and into the right bunker! They both lay up short of the green and hit their third shots on the green. Anthony made a par after an easy two putt. Dave had an uphill birdie putt to tie but unfortunately pulled it to the left. That missed putt secured Dave’s elimination from Big Break Myrtle Beach.

 Anthony did wish Dave the best, but then started running his mouth again. I just don’t understand why he feels the need to prove his game through his words. Anthony…you have a great game, let that do the talking. When you take this approach, people will respect not only your game, but also you as a person!

 Golf is a game of honor and class. If you don’t play with these, not many people will be in your corner. I truly hope that he matures and realizes how far a great attitude will get you in life.

 Dave…I truly enjoyed watching you this season on Big Break. I wish you nothing but the very best!!!

 I’m hoping episode 5 is just as entertaining!

 Until next week…

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Arizona grabs last spot with eagle putt, playoff win

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 3:18 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – With her team freefalling in the standings, Arizona coach Laura Ianello was down to her last stroke.

The Wildcats began the final round of the NCAA Championship in third place, but they were 19 over par for the day, and outside the top-8 cut line, with only one player left on the course.

Bianca Pagdaganan had transferred from Gonzaga to compete for NCAA titles, and on the 17th hole Ianello told her that she needed to play “the best two holes of your life” to keep the dream alive.

She made par on 17, then hit a 185-yard 6-iron out of a divot to 30 feet. Not knowing where she stood on the final green, Pagdaganan felt an eerie calm over the ball. Sure enough, she buried the eagle putt, setting off a raucous celebration and sending the Wildcats into a play-five, count-four team playoff with Baylor at 33 over par.

Their match-play spot wasn’t yet secure, but Ianello still broke down in tears.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

“Bianca is such an inspiration for all of us,” she said. “She’s the kind of kid that you want to root for, to have good things happen to.”

Arizona prevailed on the second playoff hole. As the 8 seed, the Wildcats will play top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Karsten Creek.

Though the finish had plenty of drama, no teams played their way into the coveted top 8 on the final day of stroke-play qualifying.

Baylor came closest. The Bears barely advanced past regionals after a mysterious stomach virus affected several players and coaches. They competed in the final round with just four healthy players.

On Monday, Gurleen Kaur put Baylor in position to advance, shooting 68, but the Bears lost by three strokes on the second extra hole.

Arkansas finished one shot shy of the team playoff. The second-ranked Razorbacks, who entered NCAAs as one of the pre-tournament favorites, having won seven times, including their first SEC title, couldn’t overcome a 308-300 start and finished 10th. Player of the Year favorite Maria Fassi finished her week at 19 over par and counted only two rounds toward the team total.

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Kupcho gets redemption with NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 2:54 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Driving from Chicago to Denver the night of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Championship, Mike Kupcho was worried about what the next two days might bring.

A few hours earlier, he’d watched his 20-year-old daughter, Jennifer, take a two-shot lead into the 71st hole at Rich Harvest Farms. With just 127 yards left for her approach, she hit her pitching wedge the one place she couldn’t afford to miss – short, in the pond – and then compounded the error with a three-putt. The triple bogey dropped her one shot behind Arizona State’s Monica Vaughn.

Kupcho conducted a series of teary interviews afterward, but she had no time to dwell on the heartbreaking finish. She hopped on a plane back home and competed in a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier two days later.

“We were worried about how she’d react – I didn’t know what to expect,” Mike said. “I would have been a wreck.”

But Jennifer fired a 66 in the opening round, then a 72 in the afternoon to earn medalist honors.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

“Well,” Mike said, “I guess she’s over it.”

Kupcho made it official Monday at Karsten Creek, claiming the NCAA title that should have been hers last May.

The Wake Forest junior won by two shots – the same margin she blew a year ago – for her fourth victory of the season, vaulting her into contention for the Annika Award.

“It’s just exciting to get here after everything I’ve been through,” she said.

Entering the final round in a share of the lead, Kupcho birdied the first but played Nos. 5-7 in 4 over par. It seemed like another collapse was brewing.

“I told her she’s going to have to face some adversity at some point,” said Wake Forest assistant Ryan Potter, who walked alongside her Monday. “There was a lot of golf to play, especially on a course like this.”

A birdie on 11 sent her on her way. She added a birdie on the drivable 12th, dropped another one on the par-5 14th and then canned a 60-footer for birdie on 16.

And so there she was again, two shots clear with two holes to go, when she stepped to the tee on the 17th. She piped a drive down the center, then flushed her approach directly over the flag, leading to a stress-free par. On 18, with water all the way down the left side, she nuked her second shot into the middle of the green for a two-putt birdie.

If there were any lingering questions about whether Kupcho could close, she answered them emphatically Monday. She carded five back-nine birdies for a two-shot victory over Stanford’s Andrea Lee (66) and Arizona’s Bianca Pagdaganan (72).

“Redemption,” Potter said. “She knew she could do it. It was just a matter of holding the trophy.”

After last year’s devastating finish, Potter tacked a photo on his closet wall of a victorious Arizona State team posing with the NCAA trophy. Each day was a reminder of how close they’d come.

“That sticks with you,” he said.

There were areas of Kupcho's game to shore up – namely chipping and bunker play – and she worked tirelessly to turn them into strengths. She built momentum throughout the season, culminating with a dominant regional performance in which she tied a school record by shooting 15 under, holed the winning putt to send her teammates to the NCAA Championship and became just the second player in history to win a regional in consecutive years.

“She’s interesting,” Potter said, “because the bigger the tournament, the bigger the stage, the better she plays.”

Indeed, Kupcho became the first player in a decade to finish in the top 6 in three consecutive NCAAs.

Here at Karsten Creek, she tied a women’s course record with a 7-under 65 in the opening round. And even though she backed up on Day 2, she played the last two rounds in 3 under to claim the title.

The one she kicked away a year ago.

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Kupcho wins NCAA title; final eight teams set

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 1:55 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – On one of the more nerve-racking days of the college golf season two important honors were up for grabs at Karsten Creek – the individual title, and the top eight teams attempting to qualify for match play.

Here’s the lowdown of what happened Monday at the women’s NCAA Championship:

Individual leaderboard (total scores): Jennifer Kupcho, Wake Forest (-8); Andrea Lee, Stanford (-6); Bianca Pagdanganan, Arizona (-6); Cheyenne Knight, Alabama (-5); Morgane Metraux, Florida State (-4); Jaclyn Lee, Ohio State (-3).

Team leaderboard: UCLA (+9), Alabama (+9), USC (+16), Northwestern (+21), Stanford (+28), Duke (+30), Kent State (+32), Arizona (+33).

What it means: Let’s start with the individual race. Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho was absolutely devastated a year ago when she made triple bogey on the 17th hole of the final round and lost the individual title by a shot. She was bound not to let that happen again and this year she made five birdies on the last eight holes to shoot 71 and win by two shots. Kupcho is the first player with three consecutive top-six finishes at the NCAA Championship since Duke’s Amanda Blumenherst (2007-09).

The team race took an unexpected turn at the end of the day when Arizona junior Bianca Pangdaganan made eagle on the last hole to vault the Wildcats into an eighth-place tie, meaning they would enter a playoff with Baylor for the final spot in the match play portion of the championship.

The Wildcats got a reprieve because they played terribly for most of the day and dropped from third place to 10th at one point. In the playoff, Arizona ultimately defeated Baylor in an anticlimactic finish.

Best of the rest: Stanford played horribly the first round. So bad that it almost seemed like the Cardinal shot itself out of the championship. But they played steady over the next three days and ended with the fifth seed. This is the fourth year in a row that Stanford has advanced to match play.

Round of the day: USC shot a 5-under total on Monday, the best round of the day by six shots. They landed as the third seed and will play Duke in the quarterfinals.

Stanford sophomore Andrea Lee shot a 7-under 65, the best score of the day by three shots. Lee made seven birdies and no bogeys and vaulted up the leaderboard 11 spots to end in a tie for sixth place.

Biggest disappointment: Arkansas, the second-ranked team in the country, missed qualifying for match play by one shot. The Razorbacks shot a 20-over 308 in Round 1 and played only slightly better with a 300 in the second round. Consecutive 1-over-par 289 scores were a good try, but results in a huge miss for a team expected to contend for the team title.

Here are Tuesday morning's quarterfinal matchups:

Cut and not so dry: Shinnecock back with a new look

By Bradley S. KleinMay 21, 2018, 9:22 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – The last time the USGA was here at Shinnecock Hills, it nearly had a train wreck on its hands. The last day of the 2004 U.S. Open was so dry and the turf so firm that play was stopped in the morning just to get some water on the greens.

The lessons learned from that debacle are now on display three weeks before Shinnecock gets another U.S. Open. And this time, the USGA is prepared with all sorts of high-tech devices – firmness meters, moisture monitors, drone technology to measure turf temperatures - to make sure the playing surfaces remain healthy.

Players, meanwhile, will face a golf course that is 548 yards longer than a dozen years ago, topping out now at 7,445 yards for the par-70 layout. Ten new tees have assured that the course will keep up with technology and distance. They’ll also require players to contend with the bunkering and fairway contours that designer William Flynn built when he renovated Shinnecock Hills in 1930.

And those greens will not only have more consistent turf cover, they’ll also be a lot larger – like 30 percent bigger. What were mere circles averaging 5,500 square feet are now about 7,200 square feet. That will mean more hole locations, more variety to the setup, and more rollouts into surrounding low-mow areas. Slight misses that ended up in nearby rough will now be down in hollows many more yards away.

The course now has an open, windswept look to it – what longtime green chairman Charles Stevenson calls “a maritime grassland.” You don’t get to be green chairman of a prominent club for 37 years without learning how to deal with politics, and he’s been a master while implementing a long-term plan to bring the course back to its original scale and angles. In some cases that required moving tees back to recapture the threat posed by cross-bunkers and steep falloffs. Two of the bigger extensions come on the layout’s two par-5s, which got longer by an average of 60 yards. The downwind, downhill par-4 14th hole got stretched 73 yards and now plays 519.

“We want players to hit driver,” says USGA executive director Mike Davis.

The also want to place an emphasis upon strategy and position, which is why, after the club had expanded its fairways the last few years, the USGA decided last September to bring them back in somewhat.

The decision followed analysis of the driving statistics from the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, where wide fairways proved very hospitable to play. Players who made the cut averaged hitting 77 percent of fairways and driving it 308 yards off the tee. There was little fear of the rough there. “We didn’t get the wind and the dry conditions we anticipated,” says Davis.

Moving ahead to Shinnecock Hills, he and the setup staff wanted to balance the need for architectural variety with a traditional emphasis upon accuracy. So they narrowed the fairways at Shinnecock Hills last September by seven acres. They are still much wider than in the U.S. Opens played here in 1986, 1995 and 2004, when the average width of the landing areas was 26.6 yards. “Now they are 41.6 yards across on average,” said Davis. So they are much wider than in previous U.S. Opens and make better use of the existing contours and bring lateral bunkers into play.

This time around, with more consistent, healthier turf cover and greens that have plenty of nutrients and moisture, the USGA should be able to avoid the disastrous drying out of the putting surfaces that threatened that final day in 2004. The players will also face a golf course that is more consistent than ever with its intended width, design, variety and challenge. That should make for a more interesting golf course and, by turn, more interesting viewing.