Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Big Break' winner Byrne makes cut

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DAVID BYRNE remembers a time when just one shot would make or break his dreams, aspirations and goals.

Two years ago Byrne was given the opportunity of a lifetime when he won the Golf Channel's Big Break Indian Wells. The victory on the reality television show turned him pro and he was suddenly faced with a whirlwind of new opportunities.

Byrne, 25, had a story that resonated with many people. His mom was a single parent and worked two to three jobs, while Byrne worked four jobs at the age of 16 in Essex, Ont.

"Golf is a rich man's sport. It's not cheap and somehow we managed to do it," Byrne said.

Now, Byrne plays on the PGA Tour Canada full-time and made the cut for the first time this season at The Players Cup, tying for 21st place after two rounds and sitting at four-under-par.

Unlike on the Big Break, one shot isn't going to make or break his chances of success. On the show he would wait four or five hours to hit one shot that would determine if he moved on in the competition. But now he has the same amount of time to make about 70 shots and be judged on a round instead.

"It almost made hitting the first tee during a tournament relaxing. If you drive your ball into the trees off your tee shot, you can still chip over or punch out and still make birdie, but on the show you either hit the fairway or you're eliminated," Byrne said.

That doesn't mean the pressure of playing on a pro tour will ever fade.

"We're still playing for our livelihood on tour. Every shot still counts. There's definitely pressure and it's intense."

kyle.jahns@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 20, 2013 C6

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