Holly Fine lifted weights. She added pushups to her training regimen soon after, but Fine was still nervous about her upcoming competition. A former soccer and cross-country athlete, she surprisingly “had no idea what was in store. I don’t want to break my nose open, you know?”
Little did she know, she had been preparing for this moment since she was in elementary school. Fine was ready for her miniature golf tournament.
Few in elementary school would spend their time at a golf course, but Fine was not your typical 7-year-old. The Southern California native and Cal alumna visited the links with her grandfather, a golfer, and learned to play. “He would let me sometimes finish up his putts,” Fine beamed.
Two decades later, it’s clear the early tee times left their mark. Last week Fine appeared as a contestant in the series premiere of “Holey Moley,” ABC’s new “extreme” miniature golf competition produced by Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry. In her audition video, she made trick shots through cardboard boxes and the cardboard tubes of paper towel rolls around her boyfriend’s apartment. “I just put up whatever I had and hit a golf ball through it,” Fine said plainly.
Her skill earned her a trip to Sable Ranch, Calif., a nearly 40-minute drive from Hollywood, through canyons and up steep hills. ABC also uses Sable Ranch for “Wipeout,” a game show featuring complex obstacle courses, a fact not lost on Fine. She expected great heights, pools of water and “four-by-fours going across a lake or something,” but as one would expect, the show provided some surprises. For one, Executive Producer Steph Curry joined “Team Holly” in the first round, after Fine admitted she would love to dedicate a potential win to her grandfather.
In her second match, Fine faced off against Hailey Hunter, a former captain of Ohio University’s NCAA Division I golf team. Up first, Fine won the match by sinking a hole-in-one, a feat her competitor, a recent participant in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur golf tournament, was not able to match. “I don’t understand how I did so well. Kenny G was right there, and I was just laughing,” Fine said, referring to the cameo and attempted distraction by the world-famous saxophonist. “That moment was just very surreal. He gave us high-fives.”
Still obsessed with this Kenny G moment from last night's premiere. pic.twitter.com/HfTi0XCiqI— Holey Moley (@holeymoleyabc) June 21, 2019
But the game-leader suddenly became an underdog in the final round. “I was like don’t cry right now, Holly. Don’t do it,” Fine recalled about her emotional play. Her eyes blinked with tears as the other contestants played their rounds. “I was trying to keep my hands still because the adrenaline was running through me, I think because of all the drama, and the unbelievability of it.”
Unbelievable it was. Fine won, despite being the only contestant to land in the gutter with her first shot.
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Also one last shout out - @h3yevan. My partner, I couldn’t have done this without your support. Long shoots,cold, sleepless nights. You gave me the foundation and the focus I need to combat all my self doubt and fear. Thank you and thank you @holeymoleyabc for capturing this magical moment. #holeymoley
The premiere episode featuring Fine reached 10 million viewers in just three days according to The Wrap, an entertainment industry news site. For her efforts, she won a golden putter trophy, a “Holey Moley”-branded plaid blazer and a $25,000 grand prize. When asked about the victory, Fine paused to collect herself before her eventual response: “I was really honored to be able to dedicate the win to my grandfather. My grandpa was my biggest connection to golf.”