Community Sports

Monday, Mar 17 2014 11:26 PM

ROBERT GAUTNEY: 'Big Break' back on TV; Patel going strong

BY ROBERT GAUTNEY Tee to Green // Bakersfield Californian

Not sure if you are a viewer or not, but if you like entertainment and golf all in one, then you might want to check out "Big Break Florida," the Golf Channel's 21st season of "Big Break," a competitive reality series.

The new season (which started on Feb.24) is an all female cast of 12, with competitors being eliminated weekly until just two remain. The finalists then play an 18-hole match to determine who will earn their lifelong dream of playing with and against the LPGA stars.

The "Big Break Florida" winner will receive and exemption to the 2014 LPGA Classic in June and will also receive exempt status on the 2015 Symetra Tour with all entry fees waived. In addition, the champion will receive cash and prizes which include equipment sponsorships and the like.

The show was taped in October at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort where the hopefuls competed on three courses, one of which is the Oak Marsh Golf Course, a Pete Dye design that is ranked by Golf Digest as a top 75 resort course. This is the show that our own local pro Meggan Bunker was a finalist for.

Over the years, Big Break has produced some memorable moments and some winners or competitors that have gone on to play on the LPGA and PGA Tours. Most noted of those would be Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey, Kristy McPherson and Ryann O'Toole.

Gainey won "Big Break IV: Reunion," and went on to win on the PGA Tour in 2012 (The McGladrey's Classic) and is a current fixture making cuts on the current tour. McPherson and O'Toole did not win their "Big Break" competitions but were part of the 2009 and 2011 Solheim Cup teams, respectively.

Ok, enough about the stats, let's get to why you should watch the current "Big Break." It has a cast of 12 women (as mentioned above) and when you get 12 women doing something together that has a competitive air to it, then that usually makes for good TV. Think the "Housewives" or "Big Brother" series?

Throw in the fact that most of them would rank somewhat high on the sex appeal chart and you can just feel the cat like tension coming right through the TV! Sure, they seem to be rooting each other on, but they have to for the show. And there are some pretty good golf swings I might add!

The first show had the gals in head-to-head competitions like the "glass break" where each player has a minute to try and break four glass planes of varying distances. The longer distance planes are worth more points if you break them than the nearer planes. Finish in the last two and it's on to a chip-off, or a bunker --off, or any number of challenges that eliminate one of the players.

The show airs on Mondays at 6 p.m. (the four player to be eliminated was on the 17th) and has re-runs on The Golf Channel throughout the week. You can also keep track via bigbreak.com. So check it out on Mondays. But be reminded you just might get hooked!

Patel solid again on Web.com Tour

Bhavik Patel's best finish during his rookie year on the Web.com Tour in 2013 was a 6th place finish in the Columbia Classic that earned the BHS and Fresno State star a $25,000 payday.

Two weeks ago, Patel equaled that when he finished equal 6th in the Chile Classic in Santiago. For his efforts of 67-68-72-69, Patel earned $21,775 as four other players also finished at 12-under-par.

The winner was Adam Hadwin who finished 16-under and won $117,000 from the $650,000 purse.

Patel was back at it again this past week in the Brasil Champions in Sao Paulo. Patel was at 7-under through 36 holes and stood equal 18th, but a third round of 1-over-par 72 put him way back in 52nd. A strong 4-under 67 in the final round vaulted him back into a tie for 26th.

Patel earned $5,803 and is now 18th on the money list with $31,884 in three events. The top 25 at the end of the regular season receive varied exempt status for the 2015 PGA Tour.

The tour stays southward with the Panama Claro Championship in Panama City this week before returning to the states for the Chitimacha Louisiana Open in Broussard, La.

Player of the Year schedule taking shape

The Kern County Amateur Player of the Year Series, a set of five designated events in which local amateurs earn points for top 10 finishes in championship flight play, is nearly set for competition dates.

Advance Beverage and it's product Michelob Ultra is on board once again as a sponsor but it has yet to be confirmed if Sports Authority will again be a sponsor.

The NOR Championship at Haggerty-North Kern will kick things off on June 28-29 with the Bakersfield City Amateur at Sundale CC July 26-27. The Taft City Amateur will be August 30-31 at Mifflin-Buena Vista and the final event -- The Kern County Amateur will be October 24-25, with North Kern hosting the opening round and Foss-Kern River the final round.

The RiverLakes Amateur at The Links at RiverLakes Ranch is the fifth event and is usually scheduled in September, but as of this writing a date had not been set by Director of Golf Cory Thomas. Keep an eye out for the Riverlakes date and mark your calendars so you don't miss out.

Chip shots

* The West High Alumni Fundraiser Golf Tournament will be Saturday April 26 at The Links at RiverLakes Ranch golf course. Proceeds will benefit the baseball and golf teams for the Vikings. If you are interested in playing, sponsoring or volunteering, contact Craig Odom at 333-2990 to get a flier.

* The Warden's Charity golf tournament (Wasco State Prison-RC) will be Friday, April 11 at the Links at RiverLakes Ranch golf course. Proceeds benefit various entities. Call 758-8400 x5013 for more information about playing, sponsoring or volunteering.

* CSUB finished last in the 14-team Fresno State Golf Classic this week. Chase Goodvin finished 42nd the lead the Roadrunners with a 229 total. CSUB shot 957 while UC Santa Barbara won with a score of 873.

* Carlos Fernandez and Jeremy Choi led the Bakersfield College golf team with rounds of 74 and 76, respectively, in the Western State Conference mini-tournament at River Ridge GC in Oxnard. BC placed fourth in the 8-team field with a score of 395 while Ventura shot 358 (2-under) to win by four shots over Canyons.

* Stockdale, Liberty, Frontier and Centennial continue to battle in the SWYL. Stockdale won the latest event at RiverLakes Ranch with a 407 total, three better than Liberty while Frontier was a 412 and Centennial at 414. Stockdale also had the lowest score in the Stockdale Invitational on Monday at Seven Oaks CC with a 408 to place third behind the powerful Clovis schools -- Clovis West, Buchanan and Clovis North. Garces won this week's SEYL fray at Rio Bravo with a 433 while Bakersfield Christian won the SSL mini at North Kern with a 455.

* Don't be hesitant to report top individual and team performances, holes-in-one or any other golf related news, both amateur and professional that you think the readers would like to know about and keep Tee to Green posted on results for college players, etc. to the e-mail address below. And thanks in advance!

Tee to Green appears weekly at Bakersfield.com/Sports. You can reach Gautney at gautney@att.net

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