Feb. 4, 2006
ORLANDO, Fla. - East Carolina women's golf coach Kim Lewellen, who was hired on Jan. 10, is one of 11 female golfers that will compete in the newest season of The Big Break, The Golf Channel's popular reality series, which has become a golf-television phenomenon and attracted a new audience for the 24-hour golf channel.
The world-renowned surf and tropical beauty of the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu's North Shore will provide the setting for The Big Break V: Hawaii, premiering Feb. 7, where 11 ladies will vie for a chance to revitalize their golfing careers and be awarded the opportunity to play big-time professional golf against the world's best on the LPGA Tour.
A new twist with The Big Break's second ladies-only series will be that - in the first episode - 11 golfers arriving in Hawaii will find out that they all have to play their way onto the show, as one will be sent home before having a chance to unpack her bags.
The cast of the new season of The Big Break.
The candidates will include:
Jeanne Cho, 23, Orlando, Fla.
Although of South Korean heritage, Cho was born and raised in France and speaks four languages. She emigrated to the United States at age 13 to pursue golf and is a product of the David Leadbetter Golf Academies and the University of Florida golf program, where she graduated, cum laude, with a 4.0 grade point average in Quantitative Sciences. Currently competing on the FUTURES Tour, Cho will be among the 144 hopefuls who will be competing at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament beginning Nov. 30.
Nicolle DiSanto, 27 Los Angeles, Calif.
A qualifier in the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship at 295 yards, DiSanto claims to hit her 7-wood - and even her 3-iron - longer than most women hit their drivers. A fairly late-bloomer in competitive golf, she played college golf for the last two years and was captain of her golf team at the College of the Canyons in Valencia, Calif. Currently, she teaches kids and models part time when not playing golf, herself.
Divina Delasin, 24, San Francisco, Calif.
Having delayed her dreams of playing professional golf to help support family finances and the fledgling career of her sister, Dorothy (who currently plays on the LPGA Tour), Delasin dropped out of high school and, at one time, held three jobs. This self-professed "work-aholic" eventually returned to school and college golf to chase her dream, but several failed attempts at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament had her back in the work force again. Currently, she is in the PGA program and works as an assistant golf professional and as a coach for the First Tee of San Francisco.
Jo D. Duncan, 39, St. Louis, Mo.
The oldest of The Big Break V contestants, Duncan nurtured her golf talents - not at the local country club, but at the local 9-hole course where people played in cut-off jeans and tank tops. She earned a four-year scholarship to play golf for Missouri State University (then called Southwest Missouri State University) and has competed on the FUTURES Tour and in several LPGA Tour events. Currently, Duncan is a teaching professional and is a member of the Long Drivers of America, having competed for three years in the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships.
Julie Wells, 25, Portland, Ore.
As a high school golfer in Eugene, Ore., Wells earned recognition as both the state's Athlete of the Year and Golfer of the Year. She left Oregon to play college golf for the University of Idaho, where - during her junior season - her team won the Big West Conference title and she was named Player of the Year. Wells turned pro a month before graduation to prepare for the FUTURES Tour and twice entered the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, without success. Currently, she works at the Oregon Golf Club, where she also practices tirelessly on her game.
Dana Lacey, 23, North Beach, Australia
After attaining success in her native country as an amateur - having won the Australia Junior Championships, two victories on the Australian Tour, and being named to both the Australian Spirit Cup team and the Queen Sirikit Cup - Lacey decided to head to the United States, turn professional and further test her skills on the FUTURES Tour. In 2005 - her second year on tour - she finished 23rd on the money list and has set a goal to finish in the top-5 in 2006.
Kim Lewellen, 34, Wake Forest, N.C.
Having grown up in Raleigh, N.C., Lewellen is a Carolina girl at heart, but has experienced an entire world of golf. A mother of two and the wife of an Episcopal minister, she played golf for the University of North Carolina (where she was a Division I First Team All-American), competed on the Ladies European Tour and the FUTURES Tour, coached the men's and women's golf teams at The Citadel, and served as a club teaching professional.
Becky Lucidi, 25, Poway, Calif.
Having just completed her first year on the FUTURES Tour, Lucidi's golfing credentials include some heavy hardware, including the 2002 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship title and the 2003 NCAA national championship while at the University of Southern California. She also won the Mexican Amateur five months removed from winning the U.S. title.
Ashley Prange, 24, Noblesville, Ind.
In her first year on the FUTURES Tour in 2005, Prange finished 46th on the money list and made 15 of 18 cuts, with two top 10s. Coming from a golfing family - her father and three of her uncles are teaching professionals - Prange was a semi-finalist at the 2003 Women's Western Amateur Championship. She played golf for the University of North Carolina, where she was named First Team All-American during her senior year. She will be among the 144 hopefuls who will be competing at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament beginning Nov. 30.
Kristina Tucker, 25, Stockholm, Sweden
Tucker came to the United States in 1999 to attend Duke University and further her career in golf. Having played against the best Swedish amateurs - winning the Swedish Girls Championship in consecutive years - and earning a place on the Swedish National Team (2001 European Champions), she was eager to test herself against the best in the U.S. and pursue any opportunities that might lead the way to the LPGA Tour. She won three collegiate tournaments while attending Duke and, after graduation, returned to the Telia Tour in Sweden, where her play over the years included one victory and three, top-5 finishes. 2005 is her second year on the FUTURES Tour, and she has advanced to compete at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament beginning Nov. 30. She now resides in Pageland, S.C.
Katie Ruhe, 24, Wesley Chapel, Fla.
A native of Montpelier, Ohio, Ruhe was an AJGA All-American, as well as an AJGA Compac Scholastic All-American selection in 1999. She was a two-time Conference USA 2nd Team selection while playing golf at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she currently resides and works part time at the TPC of Tampa Bay. She joined the FUTURES Tour in 2004 and improved her scoring average by four strokes in 2005.
The Big Break show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness. One golfer is eliminated from the series each week, with the last golfer standing awarded his/her "Big Break," a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in select professional tour events with some of the best golfers in the world.
Reprising its partnership role for the ladies version will be Anheuser-Busch Inc. and its Michelob ULTRA brand. The recently concluded The Big Break III: Ladies Only was hugely popular for The Golf Channel and became a major hit. The Big Break III winner, Danielle Amiee, garnered national attention during the two LPGA Tour stops to which she earned exemptions by winning the show.