Friday, March 30, 2012

Allison Micheletti

Allison MichelettiWe wrap up our series on the 12 women who make up the cast of Big Break Atlantis with Allison Micheletti. The image at right was taken at the 2009 Ryder Cup, where Micheletti accompanied her boyfriend Martin Kaymer.

The Golf Channel had this to say in announcing Allison's inclusion in Big Break Atlantis:

Daughter of former professional hockey player and current New York Rangers television analyst Joe Micheletti, Allison is a late bloomer to the game of golf, switching to the game at age 17 following a knee injury that sidelined her basketball career. Currently dating professional golfer Martin Kaymer, Micheletti will compete on the Cactus Tour and select Symetra Tour events in 2012.


Micheletti has had Kaymer on the bag a few times, which has garnered some attention. Kaymer has caddied for her at LET Q-School, for example, and Micheletti has also gone through LPGA Q-School. She played college golf at Furman University, although it was from Arizona State that Allison graduated with a degrees in Business and Journalism. She turned pro in 2011.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gloriana Soto

gloriana soto

Gloriana Soto is one of the 12 contestants on Big Break Atlantis, the Golf Channel series the debuts in May. Says the Golf Channel about Gloriana:

The first female professional golfer from Costa Rica to compete in the United States, Soto turned professional immediately following graduation from Texas Tech in 2010, and is scheduled to play a full schedule on the Symetra Tour in 2012.


Gloriana (a k a "Glory") opened that 2012 Symetra Tour season at the Florida's Natural Charity Classic with a tie for 10th place, which ties her best finish on the Futures Tour.

While still an amateur, Soto won the 2004 Costa Rica National Championship and the 2005 Central American Amateur Championship.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Anya Alvarez

Anya Alvarez

Anya Alvarez opened the 2012 Symetra Tour season with a Top 25 finish at the Florida's Natural Charity Classic. Her television season begins in May with the premiere of Big Break Atlantis, the Golf Channel series on which Anya is one of the 12 cast members.

In the network's announcement of the contestants, it included this about Anya:

A fiery competitor on the course, Alvarez has overcome enormous odds off the course. A rookie on the Symetra Tour in 2012, Alvarez qualified and made the cut in the 2011 U.S. Women's Open in her first attempt. She is an outspoken activist and public speaker on raising awareness of sexual abuse.


Alvarez works with a non-profit organization called the KidSafe Foundation. On the group's website, its mission it described thusly: "It is our goal to decrease the incidents of child abuse, bullying, peer pressure, abduction and internet safety issues to create confident skilled children who can be the first line of defense in their own safety." A page on the group's site is dedicated to Anya, and you'll recognize one of the photos there.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Nicole Hage

nicole hage

Where can you find Nicole Hage? At the golf course and at NicoleHageGolf.com, her new website that recently launched. Check it out, it's a well-done site that looks almost as good as she does. You find a bio, news updates, Nicole's blog, her tournament schedule, plus plenty of pics (including more from the photo shoot from which the above image was taken).

Nicole got her 2012 season off to a good start last weekend with a Top 10 finish at the Florida's Natural Charity Classic on the Symetra Tour.

(We don't have to point out that Nicole played her college golf at Auburn, right?)

More Nicole Hage pics

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tandi Cunningham

tandi cunningham

Tandi Cunningham was the runner-up at the Ladies European Tour's Lalla Meryem Cup this weekend, closing with back-to-back 67s on the weekend. That ties Cunningham's best finish to date on the LET - she also placed second at the 2010 Indian Women's Open.

Cunningham only started playing golf at age 15, but that didn't stop her from winning eight national amateur championships in her native South Africa. She turned pro in 2008, joined the LET in 2009 and has played in Europe since.

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Aubrey McCormick

Aubrey McCormick

Aubrey McCormick is one of the contestants on Big Break Atlantis, premiering in May on the Golf Channel. The network announced her inclusion in the cast with these words about her:

A free spirit, McCormick hung up the golf clubs in 2011 after struggling on the Symetra Tour and other mini-tour circuits. After working in an office environment, McCormick rediscovered her passion for the game and is beginning 2012 with a fresh outlook on golf.


McCormick played collegiately at Daytona State College and then Missouri State University. She graduated with a degree in psychology and turned pro in 2007. Recently, she has been working for the non-profit environmental group Green America.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shannon Fish

shannon fish

Shannon Fish is a Texas girl whose Twitter avatar shows her toting a hunting rifle. Fish apparently likes to hunt. Perhaps that comes in handy for her on Big Break Atlantis, where hunting birdies is always a good idea.

The Golf Channel provides this blurb about Fish:

Fish turned professional in 2011 following graduation from the University of Texas, posting four top-4 finishes on the Cactus Tour in her rookie year. An intense competitor, she was introduced to the game as a child by her mother and one of the game's all time greats – Jackie Burke.


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Selanee Henderson

Selanee Henderson

Selanee Henderson is one of the 12 cast members of the Golf Channel series Big Break Atlantis, which debuts in May 2012. In its press release announcing the contestants, the Golf Channel included this about the 25-year-old Californian:

A tough competitor on and off the course, Henderson is looking to capitalize on her success on the 2011 Cactus Tour (one win and one runner-up finish) to Big Break Atlantis. A natural athlete, Selanee also is the younger sister of former Olympic wrestler and current MMA fighter Dan Henderson.


Younger sister of Dan Henderson? I had no idea.

Selanee played collegiate golf at Cal-Irvine, graduating in 2008 with a B.S. in Social Ecology. She also graduated with six tournament wins, including the 2006 Big West Conference title. She was an all-Big West selection four straight years, and was the conference Player of the Year in 2006.

Henderson turned pro in 2008, and has played three seasons (2009-11) on the Futures Tour. Her best finish to date is a runner-up at the 2009 Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City Championship.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Marion Ricordeau

Marion Ricordeau

Marion Ricordeau is a French golfer who was a rookie on the Ladies European Tour in 2011, and just posted her first win on the 2012 LET Access Series. Ricordeau won the Terre Blanche Ladies Open on the LETAS, played near Cannes, France.

Before turning pro, Ricordeau won the 2008 World University Championship and the 2009 French Amateur championship.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Kelly Villarreal

Kelly Villarreal

For Kelly Villarreal, appearing on Big Break Atlantis is a way back into competitive golf. The Golf Channel said this about the 29-year-old Alabamian:

Nicknamed "The Real Deal," Villarreal is anticipating Big Break Atlantis to be her comeback story. She is giving professional golf another go after giving up on her dreams to compete on the LPGA Tour for a medical sales career five years ago.


Villarreal was a college player at Samford University from 2001-05, and her college time includes two victories in Collegiate Players Tour events.

An article in the Birmingham News explains what happened with Villarreal immediately after her college playing days were over:

"In my junior and senior years at Samford I struggled with overexercising, not exercising and an eating disorder. I couldn't seem to get it together. ... I never felt good about myself."

College ended and she took time away from golf, the game she loved, to get herself together mentally and physically. She held various jobs in sales and her outgoing personality was a plus, as was her golf background.

"I was the only woman in our sales force who could play golf and that helped me," she said.

She still faced personal issues, though, and she went through a broken engagement. Last fall some friends encouraged her to try out for the Big Break.


Villarreal told me that she will begin playing tournaments again in May in preparation for Q-School later in the year. "I just returned to the game about six months ago and I am going full forward into golf mode," she said.

But Kelly's interests extend beyond resurrecting her golf career. She is also launching a clothing line called V-Chic and starting a foundation that helps athletes and others suffering from eating disorders. The foundation is called Pro-Healing. Readers can find more information about those initiatives on kellyvillarreal.com.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Zakiya Randall

Zakiya Randall

Twenty-year-old Zakiya Randall is one of the 12 cast members of Big Break Atlantis and the only golfer we know whose first name starts with "Z." Which (Z), by the way, is her nickname.

Here's the Golf Channel's blurb about her from the network's press release announcing the BBA cast:

Golfer, model and music producer, Randall turned professional just prior to the filming of Big Break Atlantis, and is determined to make a name for herself in professional golf. Nicknamed "Z," Randall will look to make a statement on the series with her golf game and her fashion.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Marcela Leon

marcela leon

Marcela Leon is the cast member of Big Break Atlantis with the most professional experience. Originally from Mexico, she played collegiately at San Jose State University, and turned pro in 2002. Leon has played on the Futures Tour every year since 2003, with a best finish of second place. Last year (2011) was arguably her best season to date on the Futures Tour, with 11 cuts made in 16 starts, a high finish of 8th, her highest money earnings and her second-best stroke average as a pro.

The Golf Channel's press release announcing the Big Break Atlantis contestants included this about Marcela:

The most experienced competitor in the series, Leon has competed on the Symetra Tour for the past nine years, with five career top-10 finishes and one runner-up finish. She is competing a full-schedule on the 2012 Symetra Tour.


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Natalia Ghilzon

natalia ghilzon

Natalia Ghilzon is one of the 12 women who make up the cast on Big Break Atlantis. And like the winner of one of the most recent Big Break series, David Byrne, she hails from Windsor, Ontario. Here's a blurb about her from the Golf Channel:
natalia ghilzon
One of the most athletic competitors on the series, Ghilzon will look to follow in the same footsteps as fellow Windsor native David Byrne, who won the series 15th season – Big Break Indian Wells. After overcoming wrist injuries, Ghilzon enters 2012 healthy and with a new found confidence.


The Windsor Star newspaper points out that Ghilzon beat out 3,000 applicants to make the cast. How? She's not really sure, but it involved being tailed by a camera crew as the selection process neared its conclusion:

"They just told me I'd made the semifinals in November," Ghilzon said. "Then they sent a camera crew to follow me around doing my daily routine Dec. 3 and they told me I'd made the show. I was speechless."


Ghilzon played collegiate golf at Oakland University and turned pro in 2011. She played two events on the Futures Tour last year.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Meghan Hardin

Meghan Hardin

Meghan Hardin is the youngest golfer on Big Break Atlantis, only 19 at the time the series was taped. She is the second golfer in the cast who is described as a golfer/model. The Golf Channel, in the initial news release announcing the cast members, said this about her:

The youngest female competitor in the history of Big Break at age 19, Hardin turned professional just prior to the filming of the series, foregoing her final two years of collegiate golf. A part-time model, Hardin will begin her professional golf career in 2012, competing in Cactus Tour and mini-tour events.


It's not uncommon for great female golfers to play on the boys team in high school. Meghan went that one farther - she was captain of her high school's boys golf team.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Christina Stockton

christina stockton

The all-female cast (our favorite kind!) of Big Break Atlantis has been revealed, and we'll be posting about the 12 women who make up that cast periodically in the days and weeks ahead. We'll lead off with Christina Stockton, a golfer-slash-model.

The press release issued by the Golf Channel announcing the cast members includes this blurb about Christina:

Daughter of LPGA teaching professional Becky Herbert Stockton, golf was introduced to Christina at a young age. A four-time all conference player at the University of San Francisco and a part-time model, she turned professional in 2011 and will compete on the Symetra Tour, Cactus Tour and Canadian Women’s Tour in 2012.


From her website, we learn that Christina played two years on the boys team in high school, before moving on to college career at the University of San Francisco, where she was a 4-time all-conference selection with 14 Top 10 finishes. She turned pro in late 2010 and has starts on the LPGA Futures Tour, Canadian Tour and Cactus Tour.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Danielle Montgomery

Danielle Montgomery

At the recent Ladies European Tour World Ladies Championships in China, Danielle Montgomery won a fan vote for best dressed player. She was NOT wearing what she's wearing in the photo above.

That image is from a pictorial of Montgomery in the magazine Zoo Today. Zoo Today's gallery of Danielle is accompanied by a brief interview that includes this exchange:

So, can golf be sexy?
Of course! Loads of players dress up and look great. The cameras are often on red alert to catch that moment when we pick the ball out of the hole.


Montgomery, you might recall, is the golfer who several years ago re-created the famous Jan Stephenson-in-a-tub-full-of-golf-balls post.

More Danielle Montgomery pics

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