With just six contestants remaining, hearty, early morning laughter on the way to the days challenges soon turned to heavy breathing. But not so much due to the rising pressure, but instead due to the most physically demanding skills challenge to date. Speed golf.
Im 6 4 and 250 lbs. Im not exactly svelte. Im looking at Randy and Im like, Dude, Im not doing this, said Mark Farnham about the prospects of the days first challenge.
Two three man teams where chosen with the objective to get the ball from the tee box and into the hole in the least amount of time and the fewest strokes as possible. Each team was then broken up into three parts ' one player to tee off, a second player stationed in the fairway and the third player positioned up near the green.
After the tee shot, the player in the fairway had to chase down the ball, and without wasting much time, hit an approach shot to the green for the waiting teammate, who then had to hurry and get the ball into the bottom of the cup. And unlike the previous skills challenges, this one came with a huge surprise ' the team that won the challenge would not have to take part in the elimination challenge.
When we heard the twist about the team that wins doesnt have to go to the elimination round that was so huge, everybodys jaw just dropped, recalled Justin Peters on the surprise that was thrown at the group. All of a sudden there was something pretty serious on the line.
The first team up had Anthony Sorentino at the tee box, Craig Pawling in the fairway and Jeff Brown near the green. Sorentino striped his tee shot down the fairway as Pawling gave chase. After a quick look at his target, Pawling sent his approach shot short of the green, about 30 yards from the pin. Brown then used a 7-iron chip that ran through the green and settled on the fringe about 25 feet from the hole. His putt ran 10 feet past the hole and his comebacker came up short, before tapping in for a six.
The second team of Randy Block, Peters and Farnham, hitting in that order, then took their turn in hopes of avoiding going to the elimination challenge. Blocks drive found the middle of the fairway, that left Peters about 185 yards to the pin. His 6-iron to the green missed getting caught up in the trees and rolled past the cup, stopping on the back fringe just 20 feet away. Farnham calmly knocked it to within a foot and tapped in for par and the victory.
Tomorrows my birthday and I was not going home. So Happy Birthday to me from Randy and from Justin because this is a big birthday present. Im really happy, said an obviously delighted and relieved Farnham.
A quick putting contest between the Sorentino, Pawling and Brown followed to see who would win a mulligan that could be used in the upcoming elimination challenge. Pawling sank both the putts he needed and walked away with the mulligan.
For the elimination challenge the three contestants were faced with hitting the long ball but with a premium on accuracy. Each player had three chances to hit a drive as far as he could which would then be measured from the distance from the tee box. A second measurement would then be taken from the middle of the fairway to where the ball came to rest. The second measurement would be subtracted from the first distance leaving the player with an adjusted total distance. The best distance of their three shots would ultimately determine who was packing their bags and heading home.
I knew that when I was put up against Anthony and Craig, that these guys Ive watched stripe it all week, they have quality golf swings, noted a concerned Brown.
Brown led off in the elimination round followed by Sorentino and Pawling. After each player hit, Brown had the shortest adjusted distance coming in at 233 yards. Sorentino, whose almost perfect drive finished up within a yard of the middle of the fairway, was in first at 271 yards.
Brown was suddenly in the hot seat, as he needed to hit one of his next two tee shots further than the second place Pawling to avoid putting away his clubs for good.
The problem was I was getting my body too far in front of it and basically was hitting a weak shot to the right, said a frustrated Brown, whose subsequent shots failed to reach the needed distance. Its one of those things, you either have it that day or you dont. I didnt have it, it wasnt there.
Jeff was hitting it so good on the range, but Ive never seen him hit it so bad, added Block about the departing Browns disappointing tee shots.
Ive had a wonderful, wonderful experience. This has been an opportunity of a lifetime, said Brown. These guys that Ive come to know and created a relationship with, theyre just super. But I cant wait to get home to my wife and kids.
Tune in next Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET) as the fab five gets a visit from Mother Nature and the elimination challenge has an ending you wont want to miss.