Episode 11 Recap: Gritty Jimmy Brandt Crowned Champion of Big Break Myrtle Beach

December 16, 2014

Jimmy Brandt won Big Break Myrtle BeachA season that began with the possibility of a life-changing opportunity for 12 aspiring professional golfers was reduced to a pair, Jimmy and Toph, who seemed to have developed as genuine a friendship as a reality show will allow.

That dynamic made the show’s traditional opening at the breakfast table all the more awkward as they prepared to compete for the opportunity to win Big Break Myrtle Beach, and the more than $100,000 in cash and prizes that awaited the winner.

The entire cast reunited at Barefoot Resort’s Fazio Course, which hosted the finale.

(As an aside, if you want to humor yourself, when the cameras cut to the cast, pay attention to Anthony’s body language. He looks like he would rather be undergoing a root canal than watching Toph and Jimmy play.)

Hosts Tom Abbot and Paige Mackenzie welcomed everyone to the Fazio Course, outlined the format – 18 holes of match play – and told them what the winner would receive. After the obligatory comments about the necessity of winning, we went to golf and there were immediate fireworks.

Jimmy’s tee shot plugged in the soft morning sand in a fairway bunker on first hole. He blasted back into the fairway and recovered to hit the stick with his third shot! The ball rolled back to approximately four feet. It was a stellar shot.

EXTRA: Watch the Entire Big Break Myrtle Beach Season Finale

Unfortunately, Jimmy missed the putt and went one down after Toph made par.

The miss set the tone for the opening nine holes. Jimmy was clearly the better player from tee to green, but he managed to win only the fifth hole, a demanding par 4. The Auburn, Al., native missed three makeable putts on the front nine, including efforts from inside eight feet on the sixth and ninth holes that he left short.

The match went to the back nine all-square. Would Jimmy’s struggles with the flat stick come back to haunt him, or would Toph’s battle with his swing continue to rage on?

It didn’t take long for answers to reveal themselves. After both drove the ball into a bunker on the 10th hole, Toph hit his worst shot of the show, skulling the ball into the water. Jimmy, who was safely around the green, won the hole and went 1-up.

Toph’s struggles continued on the 11th, this time with the putter. After both hit indifferent tee shots, Toph three-putted for bogey, gift-wrapping another hole for Jimmy, who went 2-up with seven to go.

After both made birdies on 12, Jimmy squandered another good opportunity for birdie on the 13th and conceded that he had no confidence at all in his putter. He was visibly frustrated but leading, and relief was on the horizon.

Jimmy won the 14th hole with a par to go 3-up, and halved the 15th, despite hitting a ball into the water. He hit a great approach on 15 and finally made a putt in the 10-foot range to seemingly dash any hopes Toph had of making a miracle comeback.

Three down with three to go, and Toph made par on the par 3 16th that left Jimmy with a seemingly easy two-putt to win. Despite having a stranglehold on the match, Jimmy couldn’t shake his demons with the putter. After running the first putt three feet by, he stunningly missed the comebacker, allowing Toph to win his first hole since the opener.

Had the door been opened for a miraculous finish?


Jimmy hit an outstanding drive on the 17th hole and lasered his approach to 4 feet, a great shot under the circumstances. Meanwhile, Toph’s approach plugged in a bunker and he couldn’t get up and down for par. He conceded Jimmy’s putt, ending the match with a 3&1 loss.

Jimmy, who perpetually seemed to be on the brink of elimination, certainly earned the crown of Big Break Myrtle Beach champion. If not for a balky putter, he could’ve put together an outstanding round of golf, but, much like he did throughout the season, he persevered and made enough shots to win.

It was a gritty effort, emblematic of his play throughout the season.

For his part, Toph had a bad day. He was never able to dial in his swing and he paid the price, but it didn’t diminish what had been a great effort throughout the season.

Big Break Myrtle Beach is in the books. Now it’s time to follow all the participants’ professional careers. Is there a Tommy Gainey, a Matt Every or a Ryann O’Toole among this cast of Big Break players?

We’ll be watching.