12-Member Cast Revealed for Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL Competing for Exemption to 2015 Barbasol Championship and More Than $120,000 in Cash and Prizes

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 14, 2015, 2:00 pm

Premiering Monday, Feb. 2, Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL Features One of the Most Talented Casts in Series History, Including Collegiate All-Americans, Multiple Winners on Various Mini Tours, Trick Shot Experts and Iraq War Veteran/Amputee

Series’ 23rd Season to Showcase the Newly Renovated PGA National Resort & Spa Champion Course and the Famed ‘Bear Trap’

Series Website: Big Break Website

Series Video Trailer: Preview Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL

ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 14, 2015) – The cast for Golf Channel’s 23nd season of its popular Big Break reality competition series – Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL – was revealed today, featuring aspiring golfers hoping to take that next step in their professional golf careers.  Twelve men will compete for more than $120,000 in cash and prizes on the series, including an exemption to the 2015 Barbasol Championship on the PGA TOUR.  Taking place at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. – home to the PGA TOUR’s Honda Classic and the famed Bear Trap – Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL premieres Monday, Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. ET. 

Produced in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, Discover The Palm Beaches and PGA National, Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL features one of the most talented and diverse casts in series history.  The cast includes several collegiate All-Americans, multiple-time winners on various mini tours and an Iraq War Veteran looking to become the first amputee golfer to compete on the PGA TOUR. A special “Meet the Players” show will air Monday, Jan. 26 at 10 p.m. ET.

The contestants are (current residence / hometown):

George Bryan (27, Chapin, S.C.) – Older brother of fellow competitor Wesley Bryan, George was a three-time All-American at the University of South Carolina and a teammate of Big Break Greenbrier champion Mark Silvers.  George is currently competing on mini tours, and has gained popularity with his brother in posting trick shot videos online (BryanBrosGolf).

Wesley Bryan (24, Augusta Ga. / Chapin, S.C.) – Younger brother of fellow competitor George Bryan, Wesley played collegiate golf at the University of South Carolina and is currently competing on various mini tours.

Brandon Hartzell (27, Charleston, S.C. / St. Paul, Minn.) – Competing on mini tours and working as a caddie at Kiawah Island, Hartzell’s dream to play full time on a professional level has been curtailed by finances and a significant injury to his left hand following an automobile accident in 2010.  He played collegiate golf at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., and turned professional following graduation in 2009.

Justin Martinson (26, Savannah, Ga. / Avondale, Pa.) – A graduate of the University of Delaware, Martinson was one of the most successful amateur golfers in Delaware history, recording multiple wins (two-time Delaware Open champion, Delaware Amateur and Philadelphia Amateur champion). An avid junior hockey player growing up, Martinson switched to golf in high school when his family moved to Pennsylvania from California.  He recorded his first professional victory in 2011 when he won the Delaware Open and he added to this victory with several others including a win on the Swingthought.com Tour in 2014.  

Clay Myers (24, Orlando, Fla. / Memphis, Tenn.) – A member of the four-time Southwestern Athletic Conference championship golf team at Jackson State University, Myers recorded multiple collegiate victories, highlighted by the 20012 individual conference championship title.  In funding his golf career, Myers has participated in several Dick’s Sporting Goods commercials and Golf Galaxy catalogs, and also caddied for Cheyenne Woods in 2014.  

Tyler Neff (30, Knoxville, Tenn.) – A recent newlywed (married in November), Tyler Neff played collegiately at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and turned professional immediately following graduation in 2008.  He holds three course records in Tennessee and is competing full time on mini tours in 2015.

Chad Pfeifer (33, Scottsdale, Ariz.) – An Iraq war veteran who lost his left leg during the Iraq War, Pfeifer learned to play the game of golf while rehabbing in an Army hospital.  Crediting golf as saving his life, his goal is to become the first amputee to compete on the PGA TOUR.

Zach Portemont (25, Birmingham, Ala.) –Growing up as a member of a family-owned traveling carnival, Portemont played limited junior golf.  Through hard work and dedication, he earned a scholarship to Troy University, ultimately becoming team captain and one of the top players in the Sunbelt Conference.  Following graduation in 2011, he has competed on the various mini tours throughout the Southeast.

Robert Rohanna (28, Naples, Fla. / Waynesburg, Pa.) – An Academic All-American from Penn State University, Rohanna grew up playing golf on his family course in Waynesburg, Pa.  He earned conditional status on the Web.com Tour for 2015 and also will be competing on PGA TOUR LatinoAmerica.

Tommy Schaff (39, Savannah, Ga.) – The oldest and most experienced competitor on Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL, Schaff has recorded 25 mini tour wins since turning professional in 2002, but finances and injuries have prevented him from reaching the next level.

Kyle Scott (28, Atlanta, Ga. / Johannesburg, South Africa) –Roommates with fellow competitor Richy Werenski at Georgia Tech, Scott is originally from South Africa and was a late bloomer to the game of golf, taking it up at age 17. Scott has conditional status on the Web.com Tour in 2015.

Richy Werenski (23, Bluffton, S.C. / South Hadley, Mass.) – The youngest competitor on Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL, Werenski turned professional immediately following graduation from Georgia Tech in May 2014, winning three of his first five professional events.  Teammates with fellow competitor Kyle Scott at Georgia Tech, Werenski also holds three university records.  His greatest accomplishment in golf is winning the 2012 Porter Cup and having his name engraved on the same trophy as Phil Mickelson.

MELANIE COLLINS RETURNS AS CO-HOST: Serving as co-hosts for Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL will be Tom Abbott and Melanie Collins.  Collins made her Golf Channel debut as co-host for Big Break Florida, the series’ 21st season, in early 2014. 

GRAND PRIZE: The competitors are playing for more than $120,000 in cash and prizes during the course of the series.  In addition to the weekly challenge prizes on the series, The winner of Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL will receive more than $80,000 in cash and prizes, including:

  • An exemption to the 2015 Barbasol Championship on the PGA TOUR
  • $60,000 in cash, including $10,000 courtesy of Adams Golf.
  • An endorsement contract from Adams Golf.
  • $10,000 in car rental credit courtesy of Avis Car Rental.
  • $10,000 in travel credit courtesy of Travelocity.
  • A return, week-long trip for two to PGA National Resort & Spa, including Suite Accommodations, daily breakfast, select Spa services, daily golf and a Chef’s private dinner at Ironwood Steak & Seafood.

HOST GOLF COURSES: Filmed on location in September, the series will unfold on four of PGA National Resort & Spa’s award-winning golf courses, headlined by the famed Champion Course.  Hall-of-Famer and acclaimed designer Jack Nicklaus redesigned the course in 1990, and then went through a renovation in 2014.  A key part of the renovation was an adjustment to the design of No. 14 – the prelude to The Bear Trap (Holes 15-17) – which included bringing the green closer to the water on the right.

“The Champion Course is a thinking person’s golf course,” said Nicklaus.  “You’ve got to figure out whether to attack the greens or whether to be conservative.  That, to me, is what golf is all about.  I’ve always put a premium on accuracy, rather than power.  This golf course definitely has those elements, and I look forward to seeing those elements come into play.”

  • The Champion – Home to The Honda Classic, the Champion Course features The Bear Trap – a demanding stretch of holes (15-17) that is widely known as one of the toughest in golf.
  • The Palmer – Named after its designer, Arnold Palmer, the course is a subtle nod to the game's Scottish roots and is a true risk / reward layout. Its 18th is one of the most scenic and picturesque par 5s on the property.
  • The Fazio – A complete renovation of the resort’s Haig Course, The Fazio was modernized by Tom Fazio II and is a splendid shot maker’s design.
  • The Squire – Named after Gene Sarazen and designed by George and Tom Fazio, The Squire is a test of accuracy and precision and is the most exacting of the courses at PGA National.

SERIES FORMAT: Golf Channel’s Big Break show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  During Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL, competitors will be subject to skills challenges from tee-to-green, including two of the series’ signature challenges, the popular “Glass Break” and “Flop Wall.”  One contestant will be eliminated each week, with the last player standing awarded his Big Break, an opportunity to compete on the PGA TOUR.

For the past 22 seasons, Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series has proven to be the launching pad for many aspiring professional golfers looking to take that next step in their golf careers, including PGA TOUR winners Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey and Matt Every, and U.S. Solheim Cup participants Kristy McPherson, Gerina Piller and Ryann O’Toole, all playing full time on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour, respectively.  Several other past Big Break competitors will be competing on the world’s top tours in 2015, including Tony Finau (PGA TOUR), Mallory Blackwelder, Katy Harris, Sadena Parks and Jackie Stoelting (LPGA Tour), Sophie Sandolo (Ladies European Tour) and Rick Cochran, Hugo Leon, James Nitties, Justin Peters and Mark Silvers (Web.com Tour).

Become a fan of Big Break on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/BigBreak

Follow Big Break on Twitter @BigBreak

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Garcia leads as Valderrama Masters extends to Monday

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2021, 3:52 pm

Weather continues to be the enemy at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia remains in front as the tournament heads for a Monday finish.

European Tour officials had already ceded the fact that 72 holes would not be completed this week in Spain, but players were not even able to finish 54 holes before another set of thunderstorms rolled in Sunday afternoon to once again halt play. Garcia remains in front at 10 under, having played seven holes of the third round in even par, while Lee Westwood is alone in second at 7 under.

Officials had previously stated an intention to play at least 54 holes, even if that meant extending the tournament to Monday, given that this is the final chance for many players to earn Race to Dubai points in an effort to secure European Tour cards for 2019. Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions will be the final event of the regular season, followed by a three-event final series.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


Garcia, who won the tournament last year, started the third round with a four-shot lead over Ashley Chesters. He balanced one birdie with one bogey and remains in position for his first worldwide victory since the Asian Tour's Singapore Open in January.

Westwood, who has his son Sam on the bag this week, made the biggest charge up the leaderboard with four birdies over his first eight holes. He'll have 10 holes to go when play resumes at 9:10 a.m. local time Monday as he looks to win for the first time since the 2015 Indonesian Masters.

Shane Lowry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are tied for third at 6 under, four shots behind Garcia with 10 holes to play, while Chesters made two double bogeys over his first four holes to drop into a tie for sixth.

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Austin wins Champions tour's playoff opener

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:35 pm

RICHMOND, Va. -- Woody Austin knew Bernhard Langer was lurking throughout the final nine holes, and he did just enough to hold him off.

Austin shot a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory Sunday in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Langer, the defending tournament champion and series points leader, made the turn one shot off the lead, but eight straight pars kept him from ever gaining a share of the lead. Austin's birdie from 6 feet on the closing hole allowed him to hang on for the victory.

''It seemed like he couldn't quite get it over the hump,'' Austin said about Langer, who also birdied No. 18. ''I'm not going to feel bad for the guy. The guy's kind of had things go his way for the last 12 years. Now he sees what it's like to have it happen.''

The 54-year-old Austin finished with an 11-under total for three rounds at The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course. He won his fourth senior title and first since 2016, and said windy and cool conditions that made scoring difficult played to his advantage.

''I was happy to see it. I really enjoy a difficult test,'' he said. ''... I enjoy even par meaning something. That's my game.''

Langer closed with a 70. The winner last week in North Carolina, the 61-year-old German star made consecutive birdies to finish the front nine, but had several birdie putts slide by on the back.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


''I made a couple important ones and then I missed a couple important ones, especially the one on 16,'' Langer said. ''I hit three really good shots and had about a 6-footer, something like that, and I just didn't hit it hard enough. It broke away.''

Austin dropped a stroke behind Jay Haas and Stephen Ames with a bogey on the par-3 14th. He got that back with a birdie from about 5 feet on the par-4 15th and then got some good fortune on the final hole when his firmly struck chip hit the flag and stopped about 6 feet away.

''I always say usually the person that wins gets a break on Sunday,'' he said. ''That was my break.''

The 64-year-old Haas, the second-round leader after a 65, had a 74 to tie for third with Fran Quinn (69) and Kent Jones (70) at 9 under. Haas was bidding to become the oldest winner in the history of the tour for players 50 and older.

''Disappointed, for sure,'' Haas said. ''Not going to get many more opportunities like this, but it gives me hope, too, that I can still do it.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 move on to the Invesco QQQ Championship next week in Thousand Oaks, California, and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

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After Further Review: American success stories

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 21, 2018, 8:35 pm

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the global nature of Koepka's rise to No. 1 ...

Brooks Koepka is an American superstar, and a two-time winner of his national open. But his rise to world No. 1 in, of all places, South Korea, emphasizes the circuitous, global path he took to the top.

After winning the CJ Cup by four shots, Koepka was quick to remind reporters that he made his first-ever start as a pro in Switzerland back in 2012. He cracked the top 500 for the first time with a win in Spain, and he broke into the top 100 after a good week in the Netherlands.

Koepka languished on the developmental Challenge Tour for a year before earning a promotion to the European Tour, and he didn’t make a splash in the States until contending at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

It’s a testament to Koepka’s adaptability and raw talent that he can handle the heights of Crans-Montana as well as the slopes of Shinnecock Hills or rough of Nine Bridges. And as the scene shifts to China next week, it highlights the global nature of today’s game – and the fact that the best in the world can rise to the occasion on any continent. - Will Gray


On the resurgence of American women  ...

American women are on a nice roll again. Danielle Kang’s victory Sunday at the Buick LPGA Shanghai was the third by an American over the last five events. Plus, Annie Park and Marina Alex, emerging American talents looking for their second victories this season, tied for second. So did American Brittany Altomare. Two years ago, Americans won just twice, their fewest victories in a single season in LPGA history. Overall, women from the United States have won seven times this season.

The Americans are making their move with Stacy Lewis on maternity leave and with Lexi Thompson, the highest ranked American in the world, still looking for her first victory this year. Yes, the South Koreans have won nine times this season, but with four LPGA events remaining in 2018 the Americans actually have a chance to be the winningest nation in women’s golf this year. With all the grief they’ve received the last few years, that would be a significant feat. - Randall Mell

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In Buick win, Kang overcame demons of mind and spirit

By Randall MellOctober 21, 2018, 3:33 pm

Danielle Kang beat three of the most formidable foes in golf Sunday to win the Buick LPGA Shanghai.

Anxiety.

Frustration.

Anger.

Kang overcame these demons of mind and spirit to win for the second time on tour, backing up her KPMG Women’s PGA Championship victory last year.

“I’ve been going through a lot mentally,” Kang said.

Kang birdied four of the last eight holes to close with a 3-under-par 69, coming from one shot back in the final round to win. At 13-under 275, she finished two shots ahead of a pack of seven players, including world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and former world No. 1 Lydia Ko (66).

It hasn’t been easy for Kang trying to build on her major championship breakthrough last year. She started the fall Asian swing having missed three cuts in a row, five in her last six starts.

“I had to go through swing changes,” Kang said. “I had the swing yips, the putting yips, everything possibly you could think of.

“I was able to get over a lot of anxiety I was feeling when I was trying to hit a golf ball. This week I just kept trusting my golf game.”

Through her swoon, Kang said she was struggling to get the club back, that she was getting mentally stuck to where she could not begin her takeaway. She sought out Butch Harmon, back at her Las Vegas home, for help. She said tying for third at the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week felt like a victory, though she was still battling her demons there.

“Anxiety over tee balls,” Kang said. “People might wonder what I'm doing. I actually can't pull the trigger. It has nothing to do with the result. Having to get over that last week was incredible for me. Even on the first round, one shot took me, I think, four minutes.”

Kang, who turned 26 on Saturday, broke through to win last year under swing coach David Leadbetter, but she began working with Harmon while struggling in the second half this year.


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


“I was actually very frustrated, even yesterday,” Kang said. “Things just weren't going my way. The biggest thing that Butch tells me is to stay out of my own way. I just couldn't do that. If I had a short putt, I just kept doubting myself. I couldn't putt freely.”

Kang said her anger and frustration built up again on the front nine Sunday. She made the turn at 1 over for the round. She said her caddie, Oliver Brett, helped her exorcise some anger. After the ninth hole, he pulled her aside.

This is how Kang remembered the conversation:

Brett: “Whatever you need to do to let your anger out and restart and refresh, you need to do that now.”

Kang: “Cameras are everywhere. I just want to hit the bag really hard.”

Brett: “Here's a wedge. Just smash it.”

Kang did.

“Honestly, I thank him for that,” Kang said. “He told me there are a lot birdies out there. I regrouped, and we pretended we started the round brand new on the 10th hole. Then things changed and momentum started going my way. I started hitting it closer and felt better over the putts.”

Kang said the victory was all about finding a better place mentally.

“I'm just so happy to be where I'm at today,” Kang said. “I'm just happy that I won.

“More so than anything, I'm finally at a place where I'm peaceful and happy with my game, with my life . . . . I hope I win more. I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.”