GLENDALE â€” When the opportunity arose for Courtney Erdman to join the cast of the Golf Channel's reality television series â€œBig Break Ka'anapali,â€ it seemed like the perfect fit.
Erdman, a 2000 Crescenta Valley High grad, has been chasing her dream of one day playing on the Ladies Professional Golf Assn. and one of the prizes for winning the show was an exemption to an LPGA event later in the year.
But in Tuesday's episode, the seventh of the season, Erdman's run on the show came to an abrupt end.
The 25-year-old was the sixth contestant of the original 12 to be eliminated from the show, as she lost an elimination challenge to Samantha Head of Orlando, Fla.
Head outlasted Erdman in two holes of stroke play thanks to a par on the first hole and a birdie on the second hole.
Erdman also birdied the second hole of the challenge, but an errant tee shot caused a bogey on the first hole and ultimately was too much to overcome.
â€œThe way I went out being eliminated, I wasn't too disappointed with it because of the fact I birdied the last hole and I tried my best,â€ said Erdman, who spent time in Maui filming the show in December. â€œI remember I woke up there that day and I just felt a bit off. ... My game was not there. I just tried to fight through it and unfortunately it didn't work because I got eliminated.â€
Erdman's competitive drive and ability to thrive under pressure seemed to be what set her apart from other competitors on the show.
In her seven episodes, she survived two elimination challenges before finally succumbing in the third.
â€œShe has a great future ahead of her,â€ Head stated in a press release. â€œWhat I like about her game is her head. She's doesn't seem to be bothered by anything.â€
â€œShe earned everybody's respect, especially in the elimination challenge,â€ said Mark Mitchell, a public relations representative for the â€œBig Break.â€ â€œShe could have folded, but she came back with a birdie on that last hole.â€
Erdman is hoping some of the obstacles she faced on the show will help her improve and eventually assist in her reaching the LPGA Tour.
â€œIt made me a little more confident because it's so much pressure being out there and I kind of handled it fine,â€ said Erdman, who is currently in 59th place on the money list of the Duramed Futures Tour, the LPGA's developmental tour. â€œI didn't really freak out from cameras and all that. I just know that I can handle pressure situations because of the show.â€
Despite the elimination from the â€œBig Break,â€ Erdman's spirits remain high â€” and for good reason.
After finishing play at this weekend's Futures Tour event in Lake Geneva, Wis., which began Friday and runs through Sunday, she will shift her attention to the 36-hole U.S. Women's Open sectional qualifying tournament at the Skokie Country Club in Illinois on June 9.
If Erdman is able to piece together two solid rounds against the stacked field in the section qualifier, Erdman can punch her ticket to the June 26-29 U.S. Women's Open at the Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn.
It would be an accomplishment that would mean everything to Erdman, who fell just four shots shy of qualifying for the Open last year.
â€œThat's one of my big goals right now,â€ Erdman said of her quest to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open. â€œI hope I make it through sectionals just so I can play in an LPGA event, and let alone [have] it be the U.S. Open.
â€œThat's one of the biggest tournaments. It would be an awesome experience for me.â€
?DYLAN KRUSE covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.