Stephanie Sparks, co-host of Golf Channel's 'Big Break' series, dies at 50

PGA: SEP 12 Utah Open - Second Round

PGA: SEP 12 Utah Open – Second Round

Stephanie Sparks, who co-hosted Golf Channel’s “Big Break” reality series for several seasons, died April 13. She was 50.

Sparks, born in Wheeling, West Virginia, was a standout amateur who won the prestigious North and South Women’s Amateur at Pinehurst in 1992. The following year, she won the Women’s Western and the Women’s Eastern amateurs. She was also a member of the 1994 U.S. Curtis Cup team and was an All-America selection at Duke University.

After turning professional, Sparks played on the LPGA’s developmental circuit and made it to the big tour in 2000. Chronic back pain, however, cut short her playing career.

Sparks found a second career at Golf Channel, where she hosted multiple shows, including “Big Break,” “Golf with Style!” and “Playing Lessons with the Pros.”

She also played the role of three-time U.S. Women’s amateur champion Alexa Stirling in the 2004 movie “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius.”

A few years later, in 2008, Sparks made a final LPGA start, when she was given a sponsor exemption into the Ginn Open. It offered her a formal chance to say goodbye as a playing professional, something her physical health wouldn’t allow in her prime.

Sparks’ obituary page notes that she was an advocate for hospice care and supported Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation and the Barber Fund in Orlando.

A private family service will be held in Elm Grove, West Virginia, at Kepner Funeral Home.

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