(Wake Forest Athletics Photo)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (July 12, 2016) -- Wake Forest
junior Will Zalatoris made the most of his homecoming
in the first round of the 113th Trans-Mississippi Amateur
Championship. He shot a sizzling 4-under 66 on
Tuesday to lead a deep field at The Olympic Club’s Lake
Course, one of the most celebrated golf courses in the
country and home to five U.S. Opens.
Zalatoris, a 19-year-old who grew up in San
Francisco and learned the game at nearby California
Golf Club, moved with his family to Plano, Texas, when
he was 9. Two summers ago, he went on a dominant
tear when he won the 105th Texas Amateur, 111th
Trans-Miss Championship and 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur
in the span of five weeks. In May 2015, Zalatoris
suffered a burst appendix days before he was scheduled
to play in the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson
Championship on a sponsor’s exemption.
The 6-foot-2 Zalatoris lost nearly 20 pounds after
the appendectomy; he bottomed out at 139 pounds.
Now fully healthy and up to 170 pounds thanks to the
training staff at Wake Forest, Zalatoris said he was
excited to return to the Bay Area and play in the Trans-
Miss Championship again.
“I love it here,” he said. “I’m still a Golden State
Warriors fan, and I’m a Giants fan. It feels good to play
a course I’m comfortable on. This place is really
After two birdies and as many bogeys on the front
nine of the hilly terrain of The Olympic Club, Zalatoris
caught fire on the back nine. He birdied four
consecutive holes, draining putts of 9, 6, 15 and 10 feet
over holes 14-17. He hired a local caddie named Reiner
Binsfeld, and Zalatoris gave him much of the credit for
the day’s lowest score.
“He’s a stud reading the greens,” said Zalatoris, the
60th-ranked amateur in the world. “I was trying to read
too much break a lot of the time and Reiner reigned me
back in. Having that much course knowledge is really
Zalatoris leads Oklahoma senior Max McGreevy, the
92nd-ranked amateur in the world, by one shot. A 2016
Third-Team All-American selection from Edmond, Okla.,
McGreevy cruised around the Lake Course without a
single bogey, something no other player in the field
managed. He posted 3-under 67.
“That probably was the best ball-striking
performance I’ve ever had,” said McGreevy, who
finished fifth at the 112th Trans-Miss Championship at
Flint Hills National and eighth the year before that at
Southern Hills Country Club. He only missed one green
all day. “I didn’t have a par putt over a foot and a
Four players are tied for third place at 2-under 68.
KK Limbhasut from Berkeley, Calif., John Oda from
Honolulu, Braden Bailey from Groves, Texas and Ruben
Sondjaja from Ames, Iowa, are two shots off the lead
headed into Wednesday’s second round.
The low mid-amateur (ages 25 and older) through
one round is Brad Wilder from Fort Wright, Ky. He made
four birdies on his way to a 1-over 71. There are 18
mid-amateurs in the field; at the conclusion of 72 holes,
the low mid-amateur will be awarded a medal.
What began as a typical chilly San Francisco
summer morning with overcast skies and temperatures
in low 50s blossomed into a glorious afternoon. The sun
pushed away the clouds at high noon and brought the
mercury more comfortably into the mid-60s. Despite
the sun splash, 8-10 mph winds with gusts up to 20,
combined with the Lake Course’s time-tested narrow
fairways, deep round and confounding greens proved to
be a stiff challenge for the 144 players in the field.
The scoring average for the first round was 73.67.
The 505-yard, par-4 first hole played the most difficult
at an average of 4.65. Two holes played under par for
the day: the 294-yard, par-4 seventh (3.79) and the
522-yard, par-5 17th (4.95).
Thirteen players finished under day in the first
round. Only two came from the morning wave, when
the temperatures were at their coldest. Brandon
Bauman from Las Vegas and Andre Garcia from
Mansfield, Texas, braved the brittle elements early to
post 1-under 69s.
Home of two 18-hole courses and an Oceanside
par-3 course, The Olympic Club’s original 18 holes were
designed in 1927 by then-course superintendent Sam
Whiting. The Lake Course is widely regarded as one of
America’s best championship venues. In addition to the
five U.S. Opens – most recently in 2012 won by Webb
Simpson – the proud club has hosted three U.S.
Amateurs, two PGA Tour Championships, the 2004 U.S.
Junior Amateur and last year’s inaugural U.S. Four-Ball
Championship. It recently was awarded the 2021 U.S.
Past winners of the Trans-Miss Championship
include the likes of Jack Nicklaus (twice), Ben
Crenshaw, Deane Beaman and Mark Brooks. Current
PGA Tour player Bryson DeChambeau won the Trans-
Miss Amateur Championship in 2013. Last summer
DeChambeau captured both the U.S. Amateur and NCAA
This week’s field is one of the strongest in Trans-
Miss Championship history. Twenty-two of the top 200
players in the World Amateur Golf Rankings in the field,
including World No. 1 Maverick McNealy, the 2015 NCAA
National Player of the Year.
The second round begins Wednesday at 7:30 a.m.
Following play, the field will be cut to the low 54 scores
(and ties). The final 36 holes will be contested
Thursday, at the end of which the 113th Trans-Miss
Champion will be crowned.
ABOUT THE Trans-Miss Championship
2017 will mark the 114th playing of The Trans-
Mississippi Championship. The tournament --
"Trans-Miss" -- is one of the oldest and
most storied golf tournaments in the United
For 106 prior years the championship
was played in a match play format.
Past champions include Jack Nicklaus (1958
and 1959), Charles Coe (1947, 1949, 1952 and
1956), Deane Beman (1960), George Archer
(1963), Ben Crenshaw (1972), Gary Koch
(1973), Bob Tway (1978), Mark Brooks (1978)
and other professional tour notables. In
1987 the championship was changed to a mid-
amateur age requirement, and a senior division
was also added. Starting in 2010, the Trans-
Mississippi Championship, returned to its roots
open amateur tournament, and immediately
established itself as a "must-play" among
top collegiate and mid-am players, while
a 72-hole stroke play format. The field size
144 players from Trans-
Mississippi Golf Association member clubs (or
players receiving a special invitation from the
Championship Committee). After 36 holes, a cut
made to the low 54 and ties who play the final
View Complete Tournament Information