Sanchez earns sponsors after solid performance on reality TV golf show

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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It’s been seven months since the filming of Big Break Greenbrier and Isaac Sanchez said he’s blessed to have been a part of it.

Sanchez, a 33-year-old Folsom resident, was one of 12 professional golfers appearing on the reality TV show whose goal is to reach the PGA Tour. The athletes engaged in a series of golfing challenges with one player eliminated after each episode. At the end of the series -- the final episode aired Dec. 18 on the Golf Channel -- the winner, Mark Silvers of Savannah, Ga., received $50,000 and an exemption to play in the PGA’s 2013 Greenbrier Classic, among other things.

Sanchez’ goal was to win the competition, but he was knocked out in the semifinal round, right before the two finalists, Silvers and James Lepp of Abbotsford, British Columbia, faced off in 18-holes of match play to determine the winner.

“Being a competitor, winning the competition and getting to compete in the PGA event was my ultimate goal, but it was a great experience,” Sanchez said. “I did well and I was so close to winning I could taste it, but win, lose or draw, I showed my skills on a TV show.”

The show, which aired from October through December, was filmed in June at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. Until the final episode aired, Sanchez and the other competitors could not tell anyone the outcome of the show. He and his family, wife, Zoe, and kids, Isaac and Ava, enjoyed watching the show on the Golf Channel.

“The kids, like myself, didn’t realize what a big deal it was until they started watching it on TV,” Sanchez said. “We’re down in San Diego and people are coming up asking for dad’s autograph. My daughter thought that was cool.”

Sanchez admits that being on the show has given him a bit of celebrity status.

“I’m not a Kardashian, but no matter what I’m wearing, my size, scars, tattoos and piercings make me unique and people recognize “Sasquatch” from Big Break Greenbrier,” Sanchez said. “It’s the best thing that’s happened to me in my career to this point.”

Despite not winning the show, good things have come out of Sanchez’ performance. He’s picked up a couple of sponsors, which have made the golfing “offseason” a less stressful time than normal. He’s hoping for a successful 2013 season, which picks up in earnest in March.

“I’ve gotten a couple of sponsors and for the first time in my career, I’ve been able to focus on my training and my game in the offseason instead of scrambling around searching for sponsors,” Sanchez said. “I’ve been working on my wedge play and my putting and I’m excited for the doors that have opened because of my big break.”