Golf Channel Set to Kick Off Inaugural Big Break Invitational Tournament at Reynolds Plantation

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 29, 2014, 11:30 pm

A field of 40 former Big Break competitors will go head-to-head in full tournament conditions for the first time at the inaugural Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, a four-day invitational tournament airing live on Golf Channel Tuesday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. ET.

Taking place at the Great Waters Course at Reynolds Plantation  in Lake Oconee, 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 (third round), and concluding with stroke play (final round) to determine the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation champion. 15 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) earned his PGA TOUR card for 2015 after capturing his first professional victory this year on the Web.com Tour.
  • James Nitties (Big Break Mesquite) is currently playing full time on the Web.com Tour, and is a past Web.com Tour winner who 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) earned full LPGA Tour status in 2015 after winning two Symetra Tour events over the course of three weeks in July in only her second full 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 earned full status on the LPGA Tour for 2015.
  • Jackie Stoelting (Big Break Florida champion) earned full status on the LPGA Tour for 2015 by finishing No. 3 in the Symetra Tour standings in 2014.
  • Tonya McCall (Big Break Florida) won her first professional event on the Cactus Tour in April in her first full year back on the professional golf circuit.

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.

Tom Abbott, host of Golf Channel’s Big Break reality competition series, will host the tournament telecast.  PGA TOUR winner Matt Gogel will join Abbott in the broadcast booth as lead analyst.  LPGA Tour veteran and Big Break co-host Paige Mackenzie will serve as an analyst and course reporter during the week.  Also reporting from the course will be Phil Parkin, former PGA Championship winner (2002) Rich Beem, and former PLAYERS Champion (2002) Craig Perks.

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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Kang 'going with the flow,' one back of A. Jutanugarn

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 am

SHANGHAI – Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai tournament on Thursday.

The Thai player had six birdies in a bogey-free round, including three straight on Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

''I always have so much fun when I play in Asia,'' said Jutanugarm, who added her key was ''just not to expect anything. Just go out have fun and enjoy everything.''

Sei Young Kim and Danielle Kang (both 67) were one shot back, with six other players only two shots off the lead.


Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

Kang credited her improved play to new coach Butch Harmon.

''We just kind of simplify the game a lot,'' the American said. ''Just trying to calm it down and get back to how I used to play. Just more feel golf. Thinking less mechanics and going with the flow.''

Kang tied for third last week at the KEB Hana Bank championship in Incheon, South Korea.

''Today's round went very smooth,'' Kang said. ''Coming off very good momentum after last week, and I've been hitting the ball really well, playing great. I've just been trusting my game and just keep giving myself birdie chances. They kept rolling in.''

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Sharpshooting Reavie (68) leads tough CJ Cup

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:34 am

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.

In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.

Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70, and tied for fourth, included Ian PoulterNick Watney and Michael Kim.

Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th, which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.

Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Defending champion Justin Thomas had a 73, as did Jason Day, Ernie Els and J.B. Holmes.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


Marc Leishman, who won last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and Adam Scott had 75s.

Reavie's only PGA Tour win came at the 2008 Canadian Open, and he finished second in back-to-back starts last year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, losing at Phoenix in a playoff.

''It was a great day, I hit the ball really well,'' Reavie said of Thursday's round. ''The wind was blowing really hard all day long so you had to really start the ball well and keep it out of the wind. Luckily, I was able to do that.''

Despite the windy conditions, Reavie found all 14 fairways off the tee and hit 15 out of 18 greens in regulation, which he felt was the key to a good score.

''It's tough because once you get above the hole with this wind, it's really hard to chip it close,'' he said. ''The more greens you can hit, the better and that was key to my game.''

Willett, who has struggled with injuries and form since winning the 2016 Masters and has dropped to No. 342 in the world, made five birdies and two bogeys in his 69. Willett has just one top-five finish since finishing second in the Italian Open in September 2016.

Having committed to play on the PGA Tour by taking up membership this season, Willet said it was important to make a quick start to the season.

''I've done two tours for a couple of years, and it's very difficult,'' Willett said. ''We committed to play on the PGA Tour, to play predominantly over here this year and next. It's nice to kind of get in and get some points early if you can.''

The second of three PGA Tour events in three weeks in Asia has a 78-player field and no cut. Only 19 players broke par on Thursday.

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Koepka takes edge over Thomas in race for world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:50 am

Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.

Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73.

Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.

Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.

One week after 26 under par proved victorious in Malaysia, birdies weren’t as aplenty to begin the second leg of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


In chilly, windy conditions, Koepka and Thomas set out alongside one another – with Sungjae Im (73) as the third – on the 10th hole. Koepka bogeyed his first hole of the day on his way to turning in even-par 36. Thomas was one worse, with two bogeys and a birdie.

On their second nine, Koepka was steady with two birdies and a bogey to reach red figures for the day.

"I felt like I played good. I hit some good shots, missed a couple putts early and kind put myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine, my front, but rallied pretty nicely," Koepka said. "I felt like I found a bit of rhythm. But it's a difficult day, anything under par, level par is a good score out there today. I'm pleased with it."

Thomas, however, had two birdies and a double bogey on his inward half. The double came at the par-4 fourth, where he four-putted. He nearly made up those two strokes on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when a wild approach shot [as you can see below] traversed the contours of the green and settled 6 feet from the hole. But Thomas missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.

Getty Images

Watch: Thomas' approach takes wild ride on CJ Cup green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:17 am

Two over par with one hole to play in Round 1 of the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas eyed an eagle at the par-5 ninth [his 18th].

And he nearly got it, thanks to his ball beautifully navigating the curves of the green.

Thomas hit a big draw for his second shot and his ball raced up the green's surface, towards the back, where it caught the top of ridge and funneled down to within 6 feet of the hole.



Unfortunately for Thomas, the defending champion, he missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and a 1-over 73.