FORT WAYNE – Kristi O’Brien had another life-changing experience in October when the former Bishop Luers golfer was part of the Golf Channel’s reality show Big Break Florida.
O’Brien competed against 11 other female golfers for $175,000 in cash and prizes and a chance to earn exempt status in LPGA and Symetra Tour events.
The show will premiere at 9 p.m. Feb. 24.
This experience has helped me grow as a person and realize a lot about yourself and how you handle your game right now because maybe one day I will have that much pressure with a shot or in a tournament, O’Brien said in a phone interview Friday.
O’Brien, 23, golfed at IUPUI and is on the Symetra and Cactus tours.
The reality series was filmed in Omni Amelia Island (Fla.) Plantation’s three golf courses – Oak Marsh, Ocean Links and Long Point Golf Courses.
The 2 1/2 -week competition included 15-hour nonstop days.
It is the most nerve-wracking thing I have ever experienced, she said. It turns 18 holes of pressure into one shot. It’s crazy that they can replicate that much pressure on you.
The audition process was interesting as well.
O’Brien had heard about auditions for the show being held in New York but decided not to attend. A few days later, producers of the show emailed her to ask if she would come to Florida for a private audition.
She took that second chance as a sign and used money earmarked for airfare to qualifying school in California to go to Florida for the audition, which was about 45 minutes of interviews and hitting shots.
Taking that gamble was nerve-wracking in itself, whether the gamble will pay off, she said.
O’Brien’s first life-changing experience happened in 2009 when she survived a severe car accident. She talked about the accident during the audition.
This experience has really helped me open up about the car accident and how much life has changed, O’Brien said. This experience (reality show), along with that experience (car accident), are two things that have changed a lot in my life. I never really talked a lot about my car accident. It was a platform to talk about it and help somebody relate to me or be a role model for somebody.
O’Brien, who got married last May to Ben Moster, wasn’t able to reveal any specifics about the outcome of the show. She currently lives in Fishers.