Emotions Running High for Final Four

By March 23, 2005, 5:00 pm
The Big Break IIIEditors note: The Golf Channels Big Break III ' Ladies Only is the third installment of this hit series. As the title suggests, however, this season is just for the ladies. The 10 contestants are vying for entry into select LPGA tournaments, including the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill.
After the original group of 10 contestants had been cut in half, the remaining five ladies gathered together for what turned out to be a rather quiet breakfast at the condo, as the pressures and personal differences were beginning to rise to the surface.
Big Break III
Despite a minor flap with a fellow competitor, Danielle Amiee was able to keep her focus.
Soon, however, co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks had the focus turned back to golf with the days opening Mulligan Challenge, where the ladies were asked to thread the needle on an approach shot.
Hitting from three separate spots, they had to hit through an opening much like that of a doorway to a green some 80-yards away. All five would hit from the first spot and the one finishing the furthest away would be ousted. Same was to be said in the second round until the third and final round where whoever was closest would win the mulligan.

It looked like a gigantic garage door, recalled Liz Uthoff about the obstacle. It was just huge.
Cindy Miller was the odd woman out after the first series of shots, followed by Pam Crikelair in the second round, leaving Ochoa, Uthoff and Amiee in the final.
With the opening having been made even smaller, Uthoff led off and hit a beautiful low runner that finished up a mere 20 feet from the pin. Ochoa and Amiee were unable to get inside that number giving Uthoff the much sought after mulligan.
Winning the mulligan feels good since you never know whats ahead of you in the Skills Challenge, said Uthoff after her small victory.
It was now on to the Skills Challenge and in honor of March Madness the ladies would be playing a golf version of the basketball game H-O-R-S-E. Each player got to choose a shot to play and who ever finished closest to the pin on that shot wouldnt receive a letter. In addition to that, they got to give out an extra letter to whomever she felt needed one. The player who spelled B-R-E-A-K first would be eliminated until one player was left standing and that player would the win the immunity.
Miller took control of the challenge early on winning the first three shots. She used the extra letter she got to hand out to eliminate a visible upset Amiee.
Along with getting the boot, Amiee got into some hot water from Crikelair over what Crikelair perceived to be a slight from Amiee about her game, or lack there of.
Im not used to people talking trash, said a slightly miffed Crikelair. Beat me with your game. And dont talk smack, on purpose.
I had no problem losing that challenge but I was a little mentally frustrated because I have had almost zero chances of winning any of the exemptions, said Amiee on her quick departure in the Skills Challenge. And its been tough to hang in there.
Miller wasnt finished however and swiftly locked up yet another immunity by getting closest to the pin on Crikelairs bunker shot to win the Skills Challenge. It was her third straight show in which she won the exemption.
Drive for show and putt to stay on the show was a good way to describe to Elimination Challenge as the remaining four ladies were each faced with four 24-foot putts from each side of the hole on an LPGA Tour-like fast, slick green. The player who had the highest accumulated total putts would see her dream come to an end.
Every Elimination Challenge is nerve-racking, remarked Crikelair. Somebodys going to leave, somebody has to lose.
All four players came out of the gate well, despite some shaking hands due to nerves. Each two-putted the first two holes to force a four-way tie heading into the last two putts.
After I went into sudden-death overtime against Jan (Dowling) I had tasted defeat. I definitely had a taste of what could come, said Crikelair on the mounting pressure of the situation. I was definitely nervous.
When I saw them shaking and unable to put their balls down, I knew they didnt understand competitive golf, said Amiee, sizing up her opponents.
On the third putt of the challenge, Ochoas lag putt cruised past the cup leaving her with a tough 7 foot comebacker. Her attempt lipped out of the hole giving her the first three of the competition.
I thought she would just nail it on the way back and when I saw it lip out, my heart just sunk, offered Crikelair on Ochoas misfortune.
In the end Ochoas costly three-putt was indeed too much to overcome as Crikelair, Amiee and Uthoff each finished up with 8 total points and then watched as Ochoas final putt to tie drifted wide.
I said, Try to be yourself, try to do the best you can. And try to improve and to learn, said the departing Ochoa.
To be 25-years-old, to support a whole family ' wow. What guts this kid has, said Miller on her admiration for Ochoa. I mean, I truly respect her.
Be sure to tune in next Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET) as the final four ladies face yet another twist on the Big Break III - Ladies Only!
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    Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

    By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

    Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

    She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

    Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

    After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

    “The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

    Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

    It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

    “I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

    Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    “The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

    Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

    It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

    “I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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    Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

    The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

    ''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

    She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

    ''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

    Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

    ''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

    Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

    Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

    Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

    ''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

    She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

    ''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

    Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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    DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

    Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

    “He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

    The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

    It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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    Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

    BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

    Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

    ''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

    He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

    Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

    ''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

    Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

    ''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

    Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

    ''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

    Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

    Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

    Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.