Field of 40 Announced for Golf Channel's Inaugural Big Break Invitational Tournament at Reynolds Plantation

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 19, 2014, 1:35 pm

Golf Channel today announced the field of 40 former Big Break competitors who will go head-to-head in full tournament conditions for the first time this fall at the inaugural Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, a four-day invitational tournament airing live Tuesday, Sept. 30 – Friday, Oct. 3 from 3-6 p.m. ET.

Taking place at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation near Greensboro, Ga., the field of 40 (20 men and 20 women) represent 20 seasons of Big Break, including several of the series’ most memorable competitors who are playing on the world’s top professional tours.  The four-round tournament will feature a Modified Stableford format for the first two rounds, followed by match play and concluding with stroke play to determine the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation champion.  Fifteen Big Break champions are entered in the field for Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation.

The field includes:

Men

Robbie Biershenk                Big Break Indian Wells (2010)

David Byrne                         Big Break Indian Wells (2010) Champion                                                                      

Brian Cooper                        Big Break Greenbrier (2012); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)

Don Donatello                      Big Break II (2004)

Kent Eger                             Big Break Indian Wells (2010)

Tony Finau                           Big Break Disney Golf (2009)

Tommy Gainey                     Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe (2005); Big Break VII: Reunion (2007) Champion

Derek Gillespie                     Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009)  Champion

Kip Henley                            Big Break II (2004) Champion

Hugo Leon                            Big Break X: Michigan (2008)

Brent Long                           Big Break Mexico (2013)

Mark Murphy                      Big Break Ireland (2011)  Champion                                                                               

James Nitties                        Big Break Mesquite (2007)

Justin Peters                         Big Break I (2003) Champion                                                                                  

Jerry Rice                             Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013) Champion                                                       

Anthony Rodriguez             Big Break Mesquite (2008); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)            

Isaac Sanchez                      Big Break Greenbrier (2012); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)  Champion

Mark Silvers                         Big Break Greenbrier (2012) Champion

Julien Trudeau                     Big Break Ireland (2011)

Jay Woodson                       Big Break Mexico (2013)

Women

Anya Alvarez                       Big Break Atlantis (2012)

Mallory Blackwelder          Big Break Ireland (2011); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)

Sara Brown                         Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)

Taylor Collins                      Big Break Mexico (2013) Champion                                                                    

Selanee Henderson             Big Break Atlantis (2012)

Stefanie Kenoyer                 Big Break Mexico (2013); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013)        

Tonya McCall                      Big Break Florida (2014)

Kristy McPherson                Big Break VI: Trump National (2006)

Mary Narzisi                        Big Break Florida (2014)

Carling Nolan                      Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010) Champion                                                     

Blair O’Neal                         Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009);

                                            Big Break Dominican Republic (2010) Champion                                       

Ryann O’Toole                     Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010)

Gerina Piller                         Big Break Prince Edward Island (2009)       

Elena Robles                        Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010); Big Break Dominican Republic (2010)

Sadena Parks                       Big Break Florida (2014)

Renee Skidmore                  Big Break Florida (2014)

Jackie Stoelting                    Big Break Florida (2014) Champion                                                             

Emily Talley                         Big Break Mexico (2013); Big Break NFL Puerto Rico (2013) Champion   

Maiya Tanaka                      Big Break Sandals Resorts (2010)

Kim Welch                            Big Break Ka’anapali (2008) Champion

The field entered into Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation represent several of the most successful players coming out of Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series.  On the men’s side:

  • Tommy Gainey (Big Break VII: Reunion Champion) was the first Big Break competitor to earn full PGA TOUR status after Big Break, and won the PGA TOUR’s McGladrey Classic in 2012. 
  • Tony Finau (Big Break Disney Golf) will earn his PGA TOUR card for 2015 after capturing his first professional victory this year on the Web.com Tour.
  • James Nitties (Big Break Mesquite) currently playing full time on the Web.com Tour, is a past Web.com Tour winner and earned PGA TOUR status in 2012. 
  • Jay Woodson (Big Break Mexico) has several top-5 finishes and one win on the 2014 NGA Tour. 
  • Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice, who along with fellow Big Break teammates Isaac Sanchez and Emily Talley won Big Break NFL Puerto Rico in 2013, also is entered in the field.

On the women’s side:

  • Kristy McPherson (Big Break VI: Trump National), Ryann O’Toole (Big Break Sandals Resorts) and Gerina Piller (Big Break Prince Edward Island) are all currently playing full time on the LPGA Tour and are past U.S. Solheim Cup Team members – 2009, 2011 and 2013, respectively. 
  • Sadena Parks (Big Break Florida) is well on her way to earning full LPGA status in 2015 after winning two Symetra Tour events in three weeks in July in only her second season as a professional. 
  • Mallory Blackwelder (Big Break Ireland; Big Break NFL Puerto Rico) won her first professional tournament on the Symetra Tour this year in April and is currently in the top-10 on the Symetra Tour      Money List.
  • Jackie Stoelting (Big Break Florida champion) has five top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour this year and is inside the top-10 on the 2014 Symetra Tour Money List.
  • Tonya McCall (Big Break Florida) won her first professional event on the Cactus Tour in April in her first full-year back as a professional golfer.

Fifteen past Big Break champions are entered in Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, including Justin Peters and Kip Henley, the series’ first two champions, in 2003 and 2004.  Peters currently is playing full time on the mini tour circuit and PGA TOUR Canada, while Henley is a full-time caddie on the PGA TOUR.

Beginning a new multi-year relationship between Golf Channel and Reynolds Plantation, Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation will take place at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation, the famed golf resort community in Greensboro, Ga., and will feature a $300,000 overall purse, with $100,000 going to the champion.  The Ritz Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation will serve as host resort and tournament headquarters.

Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation will air live on Golf Channel from 3-6 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Sept. 30 – Friday, Oct. 3.  The first two rounds will feature a Modified Stableford format (players earning points for birdie and higher and negative points for bogey and lower), with the 12 men and 12 women earning the most points after the first two rounds making the cut.  Thursday’s third round will feature match play (six men vs. six men / six women vs. six women), with 12 match-play winners advancing to Friday’s final round of 18-holes of stroke play.

For the past 21 seasons, Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series has proven to be the launching pad of many aspiring professional golfers looking to take that next step in their golf careers. The Big Break concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  During the series’ 21 seasons, past Big Break champions have won tournament exemptions to compete on some of the world’s top professional circuits, including the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour and Canadian Tour. 

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Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.

Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.

Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.

His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.


Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.

McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

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Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

The week was more than nostalgic. 

It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

“I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

“It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

“It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

“Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

“Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

“A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

“It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.