Lewellen Comes Up Short In Big Break V: Hawaii
Up next for Women's Golf
April 26, 2006
Contributed by Brian Koressel
Week Ten Review
Eleven contestants had originally flown to the North Shore of Oahu to try and become champion of The Big Break V: Hawaii. And now that just four ladies remained, the competition was starting to get as hot as the Hawaiian sand.
"Ashley? Good solid player. But just has got a head on her that is enormous. And it needs to be taken off and kicked down field," said Julie Wells on her rival Ashley Prange.
"Things are going to start to get intense. They are going to start to get exciting. True competitors start to come out when it gets tight like this," countered Prange.
Co-hosts Stephanie Sparks and Vince Cellini informed the foursome that there would not be a Mulligan or Immunity Challenge, and that they would go directly into the Elimination Challenge. The format was simple: a random draw would decide each others' first round opponent. The two players would then play two holes of stroke play and the player with the lowest score would move safely onto the next episode. The two losers of the first round would then play another two holes of stroke play to determine who was eliminated.
Jeanne Cho and Prange drew each other and would play first, with Wells going up against Kim Lewellen in the second match.
"I knew I had to play my `A' game. She could put pressure on me right away," said Prange about her match with Cho. "With only two holes, stroke play is essentially match play."
Both players got off to good starts by finding the fairway and then reaching the green in regulation. After Cho left her long lag putt within tap in range, Prange had a birdie putt just outside of 15 feet to take an early lead.
"It's always nice to start off with a lead and you get to throw a birdie in your opponent's face," recalled Prange. Her putt, however, hung on the left lip and she had to settle for a par.
On the second hole, Cho again found the fairway while Prange pulled her tee shot into the left rough. But showing the mental toughness that has made her the player to beat, Prange stuffed her approach to just six inches from the cup. Cho answered with a good approach of her own, her ball coming to rest 10 feet from the hole.
Needing to make her putt to force an extra hole, Cho's birdie effort caught the left lip and spun out. Prange was safely on to the next show.
"Feels good. Feels real good," said Prange on her victory. "Now it's really starting to get down to the nitty gritty."
After watching from the sidelines, Wells and Lewellen got their match underway by making a pair of routine pars on the first hole.
At the second, both players found the rough off the tee. Wells' approach went past the pin but remained on the green, while Lewellen's shot rolled through the putting surface and trickled into the rough behind the hole. She then got a little too aggressive with her chip and blew it past the hole some 8 feet. After a good lag putt from Wells who was assured a par, Lewellen was in a must-make situation. Her par putt got to the hole but stayed on the edge, giving Wells the win.
"Relief. Big time relief. First of all I didn't expect to be here. Then I didn't expect to keep on making it and making it and making it," said Wells on her progression into the final threesome.
Now it was between Cho and Lewellen to decide whose Hawaiian dream was coming to an end.
"I can only concentrate on what I can control," said an admittedly nervous Cho.
And nerves showed on her opening tee shot as she pushed her drive into a deep fairway bunker. Advantage Lewellen as she put her ball just 100-yards out from the green.
With her only option being to get the ball back in play, Cho hit safely out of the bunker but was still well short of the green. Her approach stopped on the front of the green as did Lewellen's. Cho then missed her long par putt but tapped in for bogey. Lewellen was looking at a one stroke advantage if she could two putt. She blew her first effort, however, 3 feet past the hole.
"The pressure was very intense at that point," recalled Cho.
Too much pressure obviously for Lewellen, as she pulled her par putt and made bogey and in the process gave new life to Cho.
"I was discouraged. A door had been opened there and I didn't take advantage of the situation," said Lewellen. "I tried to forget it and go on to the next hole because there was nothing I could do about it there."
Their drives at the second hole were almost identical, their balls coming to rest within several feet of each other. Lewellen hit her subsequent approach to the fringe in front of the green while Cho played her shot to the back part of the putting surface.
Each player then hit aggressive birdie efforts - Lewellen's ball going past the cup by 8 feet and Cho's birdie putt sliding 3 feet past the hole. And just like the previous hole, Lewellen again missed a crucial putt. Cho then stepped up and knocked down her putt for the victory and entry into the next show.
"I've never been so relieved after a match. I have never been so relieved after hitting a putt. I wanted that putt so badly," said Cho, who became one of the last three contestants standing. "I wish that I didn't have to knock her out because she's been a great friend."
Despite the loss, Lewellen was happy about her overall performance.
"The last few days I've seen the Kim that I knew, the one that was fiery and getting in the hole no matter what. It was nice to have that back, to have the competitive edge that I once had, back," said the departing Lewellen.
The Big Break V: Hawaii airs each Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET), while Big Break V: All Access airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET), as part of the network's Top Shelf Wednesday lineup of premium programming.