Fresh off the NCAAs March Madness, the ladies of the Big Break III have come to their own version of the final four.
Danielle Amiee, Pam Crikelair, Cindy Miller and Liz Uthoff had all survived countless Mulligan, Skills and Elimination Challenges to reach the final four and they were beginning to get a sense of reaching their goal to make it to the LPGA Tour.
Co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks greeted the ladies and informed them that there would no longer be a Mulligan Challenge and that they would get started with three-holes of golf in the Skills Challenge. Each player would play a par-4, a par-3 and a par-5 and would score 1 point for a par, 3 for a birdie, and 5 for making eagle and then conversely, lose a point for a bogey and three points for a double bogey or worse. The player with the most points after the three holes would win the immunity for the next show.
I was kinda happy about that because you dont get a mulligan when youre playing at a LPGA event, noted Miller about the surprising change.
It gives me the opportunity to play square, even golf, added Amiee, hinting on her displeasure of missing out on earlier Mulligan Challenges.
Miller, who has dominated her competition during the shows previous Skills Challenges, again started strong with a birdie at the first hole to put herself in the drivers seat early. Crikelair stayed close with a par while Uthoff and Amiee both made bogeys. Miller kept up the pressure with a solid par on the par-3, putting distance between her and the other three on the scoreboard.
I had a couple shot (point) lead here and I gotta make sure it stays here because being in the Elimination Challenge is something you dont want to have to do, said a cautious but optimistic Miller.
With Miller being the shortest hitter and the par-5 coming up, each of the ladies realized this was the hole were they would have to make their move, either hoping for an eagle or at least a birdie coupled with a hiccup from Miller.
Miller, however, would not oblige and played her first two shots straight up the fairway before knocking her third shot to the back fringe. Before Amiee or Uthoff could even attempt their birdie putts, Miller closed the door with a simple two putt for par to finish with an unbeatable 5 points.
Im proud for her because shes really been worked up for the challenges, said Uthoff in response to Miller yet again winning the exemption. She did a helluva good job today.
In the Elimination, the ladies were given the choice to select from 1 of 5 different spots on the 16th hole of the Woods course at the Kingsmill Golf Club in Williamsburg, Va. ' a 170-yard fairway approach shot, a 110-yard wedge shot, a 70-yard shot, a 35-yard flop shot over a bunker to the green or finally a greenside bunker shot.
All three players would then play from the three chosen spots and the player with the highest cumulative score would see their dream come to an end.
Leading off in the final challenge of the day was Amiee, who was to hit from her chosen 70-yard shot.
Seventy yards was not my strength, but I knew the other girls struggled with it, explained Amiee on her shot selection.
With Amiee and Crikelair safely on the green, Amiees strategy paid off as she watched as Uthoffs attempt not only fly over the green and into the far bunker, but her ball also plugged near the lip in back of the bunker.
With absolutely no where to go, Uthoff simply advanced her ball a few feet closer to the hole though no longer with an impossible lie. While Crikelair and Amiee both made pars, Uthoff showed what kind of competitor she is by making a solid up and down for bogey to ward off what couldve been a complete disaster.
To get a 4 there, from where she was, was phenomenal, observed Miller, who was watching the competition play out.
It was then on the 170-yard fairway approach shot that Uthoff had selected and all three players hit the green with their first shots. Uthoff however, blew her lag putt nearly 7 feet past the pin and again had to suck it up to keep from falling two shots back of her rivals. Her putt found the bottom of the cup to remain just a stroke back as they headed to Crikelairs greenside bunker shot.
It was crunch time and the emotions and nerves were about to spill over.
She was nervous. Danielle was shaking, noted Uthoff as she watched Amiee getting set up in the bunker. Her last thought of being in a bunker (in the Skills Challenge) was a skull, a blade shot that flew 80 yards over the green.
Sure enough, the inner demons got the best of Amiee as she caught the ball thin and watched in horror as it sailed over the green and into a collection of bushes and trees.
Shes history now, total history, said Miller after considering Amiees predicament. I couldnt see the lie back there, but you couldnt even see Danielle!
Still some 50 feet away, Aimee gathered herself and hit a beautiful lag putt up to within a couple of feet and finished with an improbable 4. Crikelair, meanwhile, comfortably two putted for a three and secured her spot in the next to final show.
Uthoff now had a 10-footer to make a 2 an eliminate Amiee and move on, but her putt slid by the cup to force a two-woman, sudden-death playoff.
I wanted another opportunity to redeem myself, said Danielle on the ensuing playoff. I cant believe that I was that mentally strong that when I hit a shot so poor, to not let it even faze me.
The two made their way to the spot of the110-yard wedge shot and Uthoff had the honors. She safely landed her attempt on the green but some 40-feet away from the pin.
When Lizzy drew first and I saw her fade it way right, I knew I could just attack it, said Amiee on the playoff situation.
And attack it she did, sticking her approach just 6 feet from the cup.
Uthoff then had a tough putt just to make things interesting and again watched as her effort went well past the pin and left her wondering if she would even get another shot.
She would, as Amiee once more left the door open for Uthoff as her putt missed just left of the hole, placing the ball back in Uthoffs court.
I just sat there and took a deep breath, recalled Amiee. I couldnt even watch.
From 6 feet away Uthoff pulled the trigger but unfortunately was unable to find her target, giving Amiee new life and for herself, a dream unfulfilled.
Two things that dont last long ' dogs that chase cars and 6 footers for par, said the departing and obviously disappoint Uthoff. But I live for that feeling when you step up to that first tee. I just love it. This has been the greatest experience I have ever gone though.
Be sure to tune in next Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET) as the ladies battle it out to see who are the lucky two that get to move on to the final show of the Big Break III ' Ladies Only!