Down to the Final Four -- Without Don

By Mark MitchellMay 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
The Big Break VIIDon Donatello lost his gamble on The Big Break VII: Reunion and it cost him not only $5,000 in cash but his spot on the series. Mike Foster and Ashley Gomes defeated the Sanford, Fla. resident to advance to next show while Donatello is left to wonder what if.
 
The stage for the drama was set three weeks ago when Donatello won an Ultimate Immunity Challenge that meant he could gain one-time immunity from an Elimination Challenge but would forfeit $5,000 that accompanied the prize . If he was able to make it to the final four without using the free pass he would keep the cash. However, should he enter an Elimination Challenge and be defeated, he would be off the show and lose the cash.
 
The Big Break concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in challenges that test physical skills and mental toughness. During The Big Break VII, competitors will be eliminated with the last one standing crowned the winner. Each show features two to three challenges, the outcome of each influencing who stays and who goes home. Each challenge will demand precision shot-making designed to simulate conditions that players face every week on Tour.
 
After losing in an Immunity Challenge in episode nine of the GOLF CHANNELs popular series, Donatello decided to play the Elimination Challenge rather than turn in the Ultimate Immunity Challenge and advance. Reasoning he would have to beat the other competitors sooner or later, he let it all ride.
 
In the final stage of the competition, Donatello joined Foster and Gomes ' Tommy Gainey and David Gunas had already earned immunity earlier in the episode - to play the par-3 seventh hole on the Watson course at Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla. twice from different sets of tees. After making a par on the first playing of the hole, Donatello led by one-stroke.
 
Then the pressure hit. After yanking his tee shot left into a greenside waste bunker, Donatellos risky bump-and-run shot ended short of the green and led to an eventual double bogey. Foster and Gomes both made bogey to match Donatellos score of 2 over par for the two holes.
 
The threesome matched par on the first extra hole sending them back to the tee for a fourth time. This time Donatellos first shot was short of the green and he once again confounded wisdom by putting his ball from off the green instead of hitting a chip shot. His putt went 15 feet by the hole. He missed the par attempt and was eliminated when Gomes made a short putt to join Foster in making par.
 
I hate being eliminated. It hurts, said Donatello. I feel like I have so much talent that I have to analyze everything to be 100% sure. A part of me feels so bad because I know I am better than those people still in there. I didnt split my pride away from my smartness.
 
I just hate being on the short end of the stick and wish some would show me what the heck is going on. Maybe Ill quit and maybe I will keep on playing. Time will tell and I will make the best decision for my family.
 
Making the outcome worse for the man who once caddied on the PGA TOUR for Chris DiMarco, Donatello was his own worst enemy during the competition. Time and again he made metal mistakes that ranged from not hitting enough club to attempting the wrong type of shot that led to disastrous results.
 
Hes kicking himself for going to the elimination because he had the chance to go right to the final four and he gave it away, is how Gomes summed up Donatellos plight.
 
His loss, though, is the other competitors gain. Donatellos departure means the remaining four contestants are competing for the grand prize. If one of the remaining male professionals is victorious, then he will earn a spot in the field of the 2007 Cox Classic on the Nationwide Tour. Should one of the females claim the title, then she will be invited to compete in the 2007 Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA on the LPGA Tour.
 
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