Stephanie Sparks, former college golf star, host of ‘Big Break’ reality show, dead at 50

Stephanie Sparks

Stephanie Sparks, an All-American college golf star who later hosted the Golf Channel’s reality show “The Big Break,” died April 13. She was 50.

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According to her obituary, Sparks was a recent resident of Orlando, Florida. No cause of death was given.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, on July 18, 1973, Mary Stephanie Sparks starred at Duke University, Golf Digest reported. She won the 1992 North and South Women’s Amateur, the 1993 Women’s Western Amateur and the 1993 Women’s Eastern Amateur, according to the golf news website. She also won the West Virginia Amateur tournament in 1991.

She was a first-team All-American as a freshman and a second-team selection as a sophomore, Golf Digest reported.

Sparks was part of the 1994 Curtis Cup team that tied Great Britain & Ireland, according to Golfweek. She played professionally on the LPGA Tour in 2000 before back pain, which plagued her during her college days, ended her career, the magazine reported.

In 2004, she played the part of three-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Alexa Stirling in the 2004 movie “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius,” according to Deadline. She also appeared in episodes of the 2005 series, “Golf Central.”

Sparks was a co-host on the reality show “The Big Break,” where contestants competed for the chance to play in professional golf events, Golf Digest reported. She co-hosted 36 episodes, according to She also appeared on the series “Golf With Style” and “Playing Lessons with the Pros,” according to Golf Digest.

According to her obituary, Sparks spent the past few years advocating hospice care. She supported Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation and the Barber Fund in Orlando.

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