Best Golfing Musician Orange County 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?