Last season on Big Break Mexico, Stefanie was, in her words, "Bit in the butt" by the flop challenge, but she wasn't going to let that happen to her again. She started off victorious over the dreaded wall and continued to play well, bombing her drives longer than any woman on the show.
Unfortunately her team wasn't quite up to her level of play that day which ended in their loss to Team Brown who was sitting on the brink of disaster. Let's hear what she has to say about that up and down day...
Between episodes 3 and 4, things really flip-flopped for Emily. One minute she's feeling the weight of yesterday's defeat on her shoulders, and the next, she's flying high with a flop shot that won her team immunity. I wonder how it felt watching that last night...
With two teams-Team Brown and Team Rice-with one loss staring elimination in the face, this episode of Big Break NFL Puerto Rico could prove crucial.
It started with the Dick’s Sporting Goods immunity challenge, where teams would have to rise to new heights as they faced one of Big Break’s signature challenges: the Flop Wall.
The challenge: teams would nominate one player on their team to hit a shot over the wall from one of three locations to point circles on the green. Players received double points in third round and if a player holed out, they would earn 10 points. The top 2 teams win immunity and a $3,000 shopping spree from Dick’s Sporting Goods.
- Team Doleman sent out Chris, who scored 2 points.
- Mark represented Team Rypien; he scored 3 points.
- Team Rice sent Isaac, the lone non-NFL player in the round, and he nearly jarred it, but had to settle for 3 points.
- Teams Brown, Bulger and Del Greco all sent their NFL players out to hit the shot; all had chances to get two points but their balls rolled out to the 1 point range.
After 1 round:
- Team Rice & Team Rypien: 3 points
- Team Doleman: 2 points
- Teams, Brown, Bulger and Del Greco: 1 point.
- Team Del Greco’s Stefanie and Team Doleman’s Shannon earn 3 points each; Shannon almost holed her shot.
- Team Brown’s Mallory, Team Bulger’s Chad and Team Rice’s Jerry each earned 2 points for their shot,
- Team Rypien’s Meghan only earned 1 point after her ball rolled out of the 3 and 2 point circles.
- Team Doleman and Team Rice: 5 points each.
- Team Del Greco and Team Rypien: 4 points each.
- Team Brown and Team Bulger: 3 points each.
- Team Brown sent out Will, who drained a shot in this challenge in his season. Would lightning strike twice? No, it would not! Will’s shot hit the wall, earning both 0 points and the enmity of his teammates. I’m not sure which was worse.
- Zakiya gained 4 points on her shot for Team Bulger
- Oren picked up 4 points for Team Del Greco for his effort.
- James dropped his shot over the wall and down the hole! Boom goes the dynamite! 10 points for Team Rypien, the shopping spree, and more important in the short term, immunity. And oxygen for Mark after running out to congratulate James.
- Brian followed for Team Doleman with a weak sister shot which barely made the green for one point. Following this failure, Brian chucked his wedge into the water, which didn’t impress his fellow competitors nor, I imagine, the folks at Adams Golf, who provide the clubs the competitors are using. We’ll just have to wait and see if the club gets replaced or if Brian only has 13 clubs in his bag for the rest of the show.
- Emily followed with a 6 point shot which earned immunity for Team Rice, and yet another fabulous reaction from Emily.
- Team Rice $ Team Rypien earned immunity. The other four teams moved on to the next challenge.
Each player on the team would hit a drive and the team with the longest cumulative distance on their drives-as long as they were in the fairway-would win immunity. The team with the shortest distance would go directly to the Sudden Death challenge.
The results: Team Bulger: Marc, 280 yards; Chad, 281; Zakiya, 250; total distance: 811 yards.
Chris hit his drive 285 yards, and then had a heated argument with his teammates over who would hit next-more on that later. Brian responded with a 306 yard drive and Shannon added 237 to bring their team total to 828 yards.
Team Del Greco
Stefanie and Al each did their part, hitting their drives 258 and 270 yards, respectively, but Oren failed to find the fairway and his team’s total was 528 yards.
Wrote a similar story, with two players-Will and Mallory finding the fairway for 294 and 224 yards, respectively- but Tim missed the fairway to the right for 0 yards and an automatic trip to sudden death for his team, as the team’s total yardage was 518 yards.
For the Sudden Death challenge, Team Brown chose Team Del Greco to play against in a two hole alternate shot challenge with a twist. Because there were three players on each team, one player would play both holes. Both players would hit tee shots, with the team playing out from the better of the two shots. The team that wins gains immunity; the team that loses gets a loss. If Team Brown gets the loss, they would be eliminated from Big Break NFL Puerto Rico.
1st hole: Par 3 playing 160 yards for the men and 136 for the women.
Team Brown sent Tim and Mallory to play the hole and both missed the green, Tim to the right and Mallory to the left. Team Del Greco did only slightly better, as Oren missed the green left and Stefanie put her tee shot in the center of the green.
2nd shots: Team Brown played Tim’s shot, which Mallory chipped to about 10 feet from the hole. Team Del Greco naturally played Stefanie’s shot. However, they didn’t play it well as Oren put the turbo boost on his put and sent the ball sailing past the hole. Stefanie then missed her par putt coming back and Team Del Greco had to settle for a bogey.
Team Brown had a chance to take the lead but Tim couldn't make the par putt and he and Mallory also had to settle for a bogey. Both teams were +1 after the first hole.
2nd hole: Par 4 playing 410 yards for the men and 350 for the women.
This time, it was Mallory and Will playing for Team Brown, while Stefanie and Al represented Team Del Greco.
Will found the fairway with his tee shot, while Mallory’s ran into the first cut of rough but her shot was a better angle to the hole, so the team would play her ball.
Both players from Team Del Greco would find the fairway, with Stefanie outdriving everyone on her drive.
Will played the second shot from 125 yards and found the green. Al, however, hit a fat and chunky shot from 91 yards that didn’t even reach the green on his team’s second, giving the advantage to Team Brown.
Stefanie’s pitch from off the green found the putting surface, but still not in a great position. Mallory’s birdie effort missed left, but Will converted the short par putt for a +1 score through the 2 holes.
Al, with a chance to tie and force a playoff, hit a weak putt that missed, and Team Del Greco lost the challenge and gained their first loss.
After 4 episodes, three teams-Teams Brown, Del Greco and Rice-each have one loss each and are teetering on the brink of elimination. Will someone be eliminated next week? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Now, the team grades:
Team Brown: A few high points, but mostly weak play from all three players. They got lucky when Oren rammed his putt and Al botched his second shot. They can’t rely on that happening each episode. Score: 5.
Team Bulger: Very good but not great performance. They too, benefited from the inability of a team-Team Brown-to perform. The other teams are scared of them. Will that aura of invincibility last? Score: 7
Team Del Greco: Stefanie stood out-as she always does-but both Oren and Al need to pick their games up, Oren especially. He was really off this episode and hasn’t been overly impressive this season. Score: Stefanie 9, Oren and Al 5, overall, 7.
Team Doleman: One of their better performances but not really special. The blowups and arguments that the team is having may very well be a master plan by Chris Doleman to motivate his teammates to play better. It certainly worked for Brian in the driving challenge. Eventually, though, people tune out this type of message, and it remains to be seen if this philosophy works in future episodes. Score: 6.
Team Rice: Very good comeback after last episode’s struggle. I do admit I love seeing Emily get excited. As the truly jaded individual that I am, I generally don’t ever act like that, so it’s good to see that genuine enthusiasm. The team only hit three shots, but it doesn’t matter how many shots you hit, as long as you gain immunity. Score: 8.5.
Team Rypien: Mark and Meghan-Meghan especially-should be thanking their lucky stars that James Lepp is on their team. He saved their bacon in this episode. Mark was adequate, but Meghan’s struggles continue. How long can this team carry Meghan? Score: for the hole out, of course, 10.
So far, the NFL guys haven’t been all that impressive, but neither have some of the returning Big Breakers. James and Zakiya have been the strongest players among the returning group. We’ll see if that continues.
Until next week, I remain…