Dream Becomes Reality

By December 9, 2003, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: The Golf Channel aired the final episode of its original series, The Big Break, Tuesday in which a group of scratch golfers vied in a weekly showdown of golf skills challenges. Each week one contestant was eliminated.

One by one theyve been eliminated. Each week a dream being dashed, until just two men were left standing. And although there was still one more dream to go unfulfilled, this was finally the moment that one players dream would be realized, earning the Big Break of his golfing career.

So after nine weeks, 10 golfers and countless skills and elimination challenges, things became quite simple between the shows final contestants Anthony Sorentino and Justin Peters. Two players squaring off in an 18-hole match play situation. No more offbeat challenges, just pure golf, mano-a-mano.

It is the same type of feeling as if you are tied for the lead going into the final round of a tournament. You have a chance to win. The ball is in your court. You gotta go out and perform, said Peters about the final show.

It has been a while since I have had that feeling. I love that feeling because it is the position you want to be in. You want to have a chance to win on the last day. Whether it is a four-day tournament or a ten series skills challenge like this. Anything...you always want to be at the end having the chance to come down the stretch and close the deal and be the one on top.

Anthony tees offAs the players stepped up to the tee box on the first hole both did their best to keep their nerves in check, but their tee shots predictably found the right rough.

We both looked a little shaky at the start, obviously, because we knew what was at stake, recalled Peters, whose resulting bogey turned out to be good enough to halve the hole.

Each player halved the second before Peters rolled in a birdie putt on the third to take a 1-up lead.

A remarkable recovery by Peters from the greenside rough on the par-4 fourth kept Sorentino from squaring the match after three holes.

I thought I was going to steal the hole though, said Anthony. He made a great four. So I was bummed out about that. A four or three I thought would get me the hole and he made a clutch four to stay 1-up.

After a couple of pars at next hole, Sorentino finally broke through by rolling in a tricky 20-foot birdie putt at the 7th to even the match and regain some confidence.

I finally started hitting good shots, said Anthony. It was a hard putt and it dropped. So that was cool. It kind of got me rolling a little bit. And less fear of the speed of the greens.

Sorentino then had another chance to keep the momentum going his way but his birdie at the par-3 eighth finished just shy of the hole leaving the match even.

At the par-4 ninth, both players hit beautiful approach shots into the green resulting in a pair of birdies sending the two to the back nine all square.

Both players found trouble off the tee at the 10th, although Peters got the short end of the stick as his ball was nestled down in knee high rough. As he attempted to hit his recovery shot, he heard a popping noise in his wrist and could only fear the worse.

It really scared me. I mean, there were a million thoughts going through my head. As soon as I felt something pop I looked down and it just looked funny to me. I just started getting dizzy. It felt funny, recalled Peters on the situation. Then all of the sudden in my head I am thinking what am I going to do if I broke something in here. I need to make money playing next week to pay my bills. I cant get a job in time to be able to pay my mortgage.

With the help of a makeshift ice pack, Peters overcame the wrist injury to again make an out of this world up and down to keep the match even in what could have been the turning point of the contest.

From there, each player took turns in winning the next two holes with pars, leaving the match even as they strode to the 13th tee. This time however, it was Sorentino who created some trouble for himself by pushing his drive into the forcing him to tee up a second ball. He eventually conceded the hole giving Peters a slim lead once again.

One of the officials said that it hit a tree and bounced in, said Sorentino. I looked for it for a minute but I really didnt want to find it. I mean, my provisional is in the middle of the fairway. I pretty much just thought that hole was his anyway unless I threw a dart.

The players halved the 14th and moved on to the par-5 15th where Peters wondered where the match was headed.

Nobody wanted to take control it seemed like. Every time I felt like I was taking control I gave him one back the next hole. Then he wins a hole and then he would give me one back, Peters noted about the ebb and flow of match play. Its definitely an emotional grind.

Justin and AnthonyA perfect drive and an equally impressive 7-iron left Peters with a 12-foot eagle putt which was eventually conceded as Sorentino struggled to find the green in regulation.

On the par-4 16th each player left their approach shots well short of the pin and halved the hole after both two-putted.

Sorentino was now 2-down with two to play and needed to win the par-3 17th to stay alive. He pulled his tee shot left as Peters safely reach the green. A miracle shot from out of the bunker and under a tree failed to find the cup suddenly giving Peters the match and The Big Break.

Its been quite an experience, an experience I will always remember, said an elated Peters. To be part of the first golf reality type show like this with 10 different personalities. To be part of this huge production and to go and win the whole thing. I mean its something special. It something that I will always cherish. It hasnt really soaked in yet but I am sure once it airs and once everything soaks in, its going to be one of the greatest accomplishments I will probably ever achieve, especially to this point.
Related Links:
  • The Big Break Home
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  • Video - Watch Justin Peters' winner interview
  • Video - Watch Anthony Sorentino's exit interview
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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

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    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

    Getty Images

    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.