Best Golfing Musician (2011)

John Lepak

No, the La Habra Heights native and current resident didn't get the big break he wanted. But he lasted seven shows into the Golf Channel's Big Break: Indian Wells before being eliminated. The exposure gave an enormous boost to his band, the New Grooves, who combine original songs with covers and what he describes as "California-soul" and for whom Lepak serves as lead singer/guitarist. But he considers himself a golfer first; he even offers lessons. He earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors in 1999 while playing for Oregon State's golf team, and he has eked out a living playing small tours since turning pro in 2003. He landed the gig on Big Break, a Survivor-like reality-TV show in which contestants compete in golf-skill challenges, with one eliminated each week, by playing an original song he'd written the night before the audition. Though he didn't win the $55,000 and exempt status at the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans next year, he's only 31. Oh, and did we mention Lepak is also a painter?

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