Former UM golfers moving on in Big Break

Earlier this year Haymes Snedeker called Bernadette Luse to see if she wanted to play some golf. It might as well have been their Ole Miss days. But this was no ordinary invitation.

They've now made it to show No. 5 of their quest to be the ultimate winners in The Golf Channel's "Big Break X: Michigan." The former Ole Miss golfers are getting closer to their goal of taking the top prize.

And it's substantial. The male champion receives an exemption into the 2009 PGA Tour Children's Miracle Network Classic, while the female champion gets an exemption into the 2009 Bell Micro LPGA Classic.

Each member of the winning team gets a BMW 328i Coupe plus a trip to the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, S.C. Each member receives a Dick's Sporting Goods gift package including $10,000 cash ($5,000 each) and $5,000 in gift cards ($2,500 each). Each player's entry fees for the LPGA and PGA Tour Qualifying Tournaments will be covered by SkyCaddie. Each member of the winning teams gets an endorsement deal with Adams Golf plus $5,000 cash.

Needless to say, both Snedeker, who played at Ole Miss in the mid to late 1990s and was assistant golf coach while in law school here after that, and Luse, who played at UM from 1999-2003, are excited they've made it this far and that they entered in the first place. Of course they already know the final result, but they had to sign a confidentiality agreement not to divulge what happened and potentially ruin the show for its weekly viewers.

Haymes' brother Brandt, a successful PGA Tour player, gets the credit for making the opportunity known to them.

"Brandt called me out of the blue and asked me if I knew anybody who might be interested in doing the show," said Haymes, who joined Luse for the competition at the Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs, Mich. "I was a little hesitant at first but decided to do it myself. Bernie came to mind, and so I called her."

Luse, in the admissions office of Cozmo, a beauty school in Bonita Springs, Fla., wasn't sure she should do it when he called.

"I was working fulltime and I didn't feel I could take two weeks off," she said.

But the people she work with were very supportive; some of them former college golfers.

"We all knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity," Luse said.

So she accepted.

Haymes had the full support of his wife, Amy. The couple lives in Fairhope, Ala., her hometown, with their two young children where he is an attorney and municipal judge.

So for two weeks in July in Michigan, Haymes and Bernie competed against seven other couples in the 10th season series of Big Break. We are now seeing weekly those results on The Golf Channel. Each new show airs on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Central time, usually following an airing of the previous week's show which comes on at 8 p.m. The shows are repeated throughout the weeks.

The 11-week series is now headed to its fifth show. Teams are comprised of individuals with previous amateur and professional tour time and whose connections range from married or dating to friends and college friends and co-workers to ex-significant others. It's an interesting group.

Two of the eight couples have been eliminated through the first four shows. Haymes and Bernie are still near the top of the competition and moving on. They both are pleased they are involved in this production for a number of reasons. Bernie hopes to try professional golf again. Haymes hopes to be able to play with his brother in a PGA Tour event. Both are happy to represent their alma mater.

"Ole Miss is a very special place to me," Luse said. "It really is a place you never leave. Playing together with Haymes again, it's like we'd never left. The quality of friendship and the quality of people you find at Ole Miss, you just don't find everywhere. I really want to get back up there soon."

"Ole Miss is the tie that binds us," Haymes said. "We owe Ole Miss so much. It's a special place. Hopefully we are representing Ole Miss well. That was important to us."

And while they cannot say how they fared as the weeks pass, Luse did say, in not so many words, to stay tuned. Supporting the series, even if she and Haymes happen not to be there to the end – which nobody knows for sure but those involved.

"There's a lot of drama and it gets really exciting," she said. "There are a lot of surprises."

Since those initial calls earlier in the year from Brandt to Haymes and Haymes to Bernadette, there already have been. Many, many of them.

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