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CINDY MILLER MAKING MOST OF BIG BREAK

Cindy Miller wasn't exaggerating when she told the producers of the Golf Channel series, "Big Break III: Ladies Only" (9 p.m. Tuesday, digital cable), that she could be the "light of the show."

The Silver Creek golf pro has won the last two "immunity challenges" and has won three overall to enable her to make the Final Four of the reality series.

"I'm kicking butt and taking names," said the 48-year-old Miller, who is a few decades older than the three other survivors. "I always seem to choke when it is OK to choke."

After last week's compilation of previous episodes, the series resumes Tuesday. Miller and about 30 to 50 of her golf buddies will be watching together at the Buffalo Brew Pub on Main Street in Williamsville. "It's like a big party," said Miller, who has heard from old friends and new fans.

"I'm hearing from people from college, which is great. I'm hearing I am totally clutch."

Has she heard that before?

"Never," Miller said. "I wanted to see if I could hit a shot with a gun pointed to my head, and I haven't failed myself yet."

Among those writing was the caddie, Tom Stanley, who introduced Miller to her husband, golf pro Allen Miller.

"He said, 'If you couldn't chip and putt, you couldn't break 100,' which is what he always says," Miller said. The Millers' first date fittingly enough revolved around golf. She watched Allen play in a tournament.

"I was little Miss University of Miami golfer back then and Allen was Mr. Tour Player," she said.

Miller played the ladies tour 25 years ago and looks at the Big Break as a second chance to get back. The winner earns the right to compete in a few LPGA events, including the LPGA Corning Classic in May.

"I had a great e-mail the other day that said I shouldn't be on the show because I'm good enough to be a tour player," Miller said. "I'm getting e-mails from all over the country from people I don't know."

Some have called her an inspiration. But not everyone has been kind. She said one writer to a Golf Channel message board called her "a bitter old hag."

"I'm old, but I'm not bitter," she said.

The comment that may have hurt the most was an insult directed at her game. Someone wrote that if the reality show ever went to a real golf format instead of skills challenges, Miller would lose. And guess what? Tuesday's show, which like the rest of the series was taped in October, does just that. So we'll see if that critic is right.

If I had a gun pointed at my head, I'd guess Miller at least makes it to the final show and may win it all.

McGahee goes bowling

It isn't the Super Bowl, but Buffalo Bills running back Willis McGahee goes bowling at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

He is one of 16 professional athletes involved in the six-week series, ESPN Bowling Night. Playing in one of the country's bowling hot spots, McGahee could become a bigger legend here with a win. The winners of the first four episodes earn $10,000 and compete in the fifth episode with one wild-card entry. Three qualify for the finals, with the winner getting $20,000.

Among the other competitors are Terrell Owens, Brandi Chastain, Tony Gonzalez and Bubba Franks. The same night, at 9 p.m., Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes is among 20 NFL players testing their athletic skills in "The Battle of the Gridiron Stars."

Sylvester gets mulligan

Kevin Sylvester, one of the three WGR morning personalities let go last fall when Howard Simon was hired, returns to the sports station as a freelance host of a golf show that will premiere at 8 a.m. April 30.

NCAA hoops rate here

North Carolina's 75-70 triumph over Illinois on Monday night had an impressive 13.8 rating on WIVB-TV, which was within the ballpark of the 14.7 that Syracuse's title victory over Kansas had two seasons ago. It also was close to the 15.0 rating CBS had nationally.

ESPN Classic replays the title game at 8 tonight as part of its 17-hour marathon of Instant Classic games from this year's tournament. It starts at 9 a.m. with Vermont's first-round upset of Syracuse.
e-mail: apergament@buffnews.com