Ben Blundell and Jordan Cook during first round of Trans-Miss Four-Ball
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (September 27, 2016) -- Despite cool temperatures and periodic rains, several teams managed to better par in the first round of play at the 36th Trans-Mississippi Four-Ball Championship at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz. Among the 62 teams in the starting field, 25 found red numbers on the challenging Canyon Course layout. With the day led by play from the 8th tee and the Senior Division, Steve Van Herpe from Temecula, Calif., and Dan Pouliot of Burbank, Calif., set the pace by carding a 7-under 64 to take the first round lead in their division. When asked about the keys to their game following their first round, Van Herpe and Pouliot both noted their combined effort as a key to their first round success. “We were able to keep both balls in play throughout our round and each contributed four birdies a piece,” said Van Herpe. Van Herpe continued, noting their consistent play early on as a key to their success, “we hit consistent golf shots through the first five holes when the day started with cooler weather and rain.” Only one shot behind the steady and efficient play of Van Herpe and Pouliot are Bill Jackson from Oklahoma City, Okla., and Mac McGee who hails from Midland, Texas. The team of Jackson and McGee managed four birdies on both the front and back nine, faltering only on two of the most challenging of par fours offered by the Canyon Course; namely, the seventh and 17th holes, which played 425 and 366 yards, respectively. With their opening round 6-under 65, Jackson and McGee have six other teams under-par and looking to make up ground in tomorrow’s second round. In the Super Senior Division, which is contested by players aged 65 and over, Dave Sheff of Dana Point, Calif., and teammate Rich Tolly of Laguna Hills, Calif., led with an opening round 67 at 4-under for the day. Starting on the first hole, Sheff and Tolly stumbled out of the gate with a bogey on the par four 357 yard opener, but responded with two consecutive birdies en route to their division-leading 67.
Much like the Senior Division, multiple groups found red numbers during the first round of play, with three additional teams at one-under or better on the day in the Super Senior contest. Heading into tomorrow’s afternoon start, the Super Senior Division remains highly competitive with 13 teams within 5-shots of the lead. Better weather prevailed in the afternoon for the start of the Championship Division, which features players from the Mid-Amateur age group of 25 and over. The largest of the three divisions in the field this week, the Championship Division was led by Ben Blundell and Jordan Cook from Oklahoma City, Okla., who posted an 8-under score of 63 in their opening round. Blundell and Cook are not strangers to the top of the Trans-Miss Four-Ball leaderboard as they took home runner-up honors in the 2015 edition of the championship. Blundell and Cook were bested in extra holes by eventual champions and fellow Oklahoma residents, Lawrence Field and Draegen Majors at The Honors Couse in Ooltewah, Tenn. Blundell and Cook rang off six birdies and an eagle to get to 8 under and grab the first round lead. Not far behind and finding birdies of their own are twelve other groups in the Championship Division, who each posted scores under par. With darkness falling around the rugged mountain landscape this evening, play was suspended at 6:26 pm. Competitors will resume play at 8:00 am (MDT) to complete their first round, ahead of second round play. At the conclusion of 36 holes on Wednesday evening, the field will be cut to the low 48 teams (and ties), with a pro-rated representation from each division. A revision to the format this year, the pro-rated allocation of teams making the cut from each division is as follows: Championship (17 teams and ties); Senior (17 teams and ties); and, Super Senior (14 teams and ties). Forest Highlands Golf Club is no stranger to hosting national amateur events. Previously it hosted the 1996 U.S. Junior and 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships on the Canyon Course. Designed by the architectural duo of Weiskopf and Morrish in 1986, the Canyon Course was carved out of breathtaking forest and rugged mountain terrain. A unique characteristic of the layout is the run of six par 3s between the fourth and 14th holes.
View results for Trans-Mississippi Four-Ball Championship
ABOUT THE Trans-Miss Four-Ball
One of three annual championships hosted each year
the historic Trans-Mississippi Golf Association. Each
player must be a member of a Trans-Mississippi
club, but not necessarily the same club. Players who do
not belong to a Trans-Miss member club can speak to
their club's manager or board of directors to encourage
them to join (dues are very reasonable and support the
Trans-Miss Turf Scholarship Fund). Alternatively,
entrants may make a contribution in lieu of club
membership to the Turf Scholarship Fund.
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