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Trans-Miss 4-Ball: Sanders-Mitchell in a runaway



click above for a video featuring on-course action and player interviews

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Sept. 20, 2007)— Coming into the final day of the Trans-Mississippi Four-Ball Championship, it seemed like nothing could derail the team of Joe Sanders and Ryan Mitchell. But with rain in the forecast, teams trailing the duo from Incline Village, Nevada may have seen their opportunity to make a miraculous comeback.

But when clear blue skies greeted golfers at tee off at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club, it was only a matter of counting down the holes until Sanders and Mitchell were crowned champs, finishing at 196, 20-holes under par and nine strokes clear of their nearest competition.

Entering the day with a six-stroke lead, Sanders and Mitchell were up-and-down through the front nine, as they had been all week, going +1 after six holes. But a near hole-in-one by Sanders, which rolled just pass the hole to within three feet, got the pair back on track.

“It’s a tough little green to hit, with the swirling winds,” said Sanders said of his approach to the 204-yard 7th hole. “That was a fun one, hit it really nice, let it drift in with the wind. It looked like it might go in but just curled around behind it. But we really needed that birdie.”

It was lights-out from there, as the pair finished the back nine at five-under, including an eagle-3 from Mitchell.

“Today we got off to a good start, a birdie on two by my buddy Mitch, but then we got a little shaky for a while, we made three bogeys in six holes which is more than we made in the first two days,” said Sanders. “Had a couple moments where they were getting closer, but on the back nine we turned it on again, finished up the way we played the rest of the week.”

The pair grew up together near Tahoe, and seemed to be able to pick each other up when needed throughout the tournament, which was highlighted by a tournament-low 63 on Wednesday.

“We really haven’t played a ton of golf together, more so just in the last few years,” said Sanders. “We just blend well, we have fun, don’t get uptight, even if we don’t shoot a good score, we have fun.”

As was the pattern throughout, they made their move down the stretch.

I struggled all week in the forest holes, and for whatever reason we’d get out into the ocean holes and the par-5’s just fit my eye,” said Mitchell. “We made a lot of birdies there, were never out of any holes, and the greens were rolling perfect. We are both good putters so we felt comfortable.”

Four teams tied for second at 11-under, including defending champions Chris Kessler and Trent Brown, who was also the Trans-Miss individual champ this year. His father Roger paired with Bill Heldmar to win this year’s senior title.

The pair played solid all week, staying in the 60’s, but could never go low enough to challenge the winners.

John Pigg and Eddie Lyons, who have won this tournament four times from 1983-2004, also placed second, as did the father-son tandem of Steve and Stephen Summers.

Pacific Grove residents Casey Boyns (who is coming off a series of NCGA victories) and Bill Moore were the last group tied for second.

The weather held off for the last day, providing the providing the players with a solid week of near-perfect conditions at the challenging Dunes Course at MPCC.

“It was a great tournament, fantastic venue,” said Mitchell. “When we saw this on the schedule you can’t get a better place to go for a week than Monterey Peninsula. The course, the facilities, everything was first-class.”

While the Mid-Am division of the Trans-Miss Four-Ball looked like a runaway before the final day got started, the senior division was shaping up to be a battle.

It was the team of Bill Heldmar and Roger Brown who drew first blood, jumping into the lead on the first hole they played, the 480-yard, par-5 18th.

“When we started off on the 18th hole we were one shot behind,” said Heldmar. “Roger hit the green in two and then made about a 70-foot eagle, so that really set the tone for the day.”

With that shot, Heldmar and Brown leapfrogged playing partners Jeff Remington and Bruce Richards, who entered the day with a one-shot lead courtesy of consecutive rounds in the 60’s. They would eventually wrap up the title by one stroke with a three-day total of 10-under-par 206.

“It was big for us, that eagle on the first hole, it made a big difference right there,” said Brown, who is also a member of the Trans-Miss Board of Directors. “I think we knew we were going to have to play well, and the guys playing with us played well too, that’s what golf’s all about.”

The pair played even par through the next nine holes before turning up the heat down the homestretch, beginning when Richards knocked his approach shot on the par-4 11th four feet from the pin and converted the birdie.

Heldmar notched a birdie of his own two holes later on a 485-yard, par-5, and Richards birdied the final par-5 of the round, the 15th.

The team would need those birdies to keep Remington and Richards at arm’s length, as they finished the final nine holes at four-under, but couldn’t take advantage of a bogey by their opponents on the last hole to force a playoff.

After shooting a 65 to start the tournament but falling to second place with a 73 on Day 2, it was a dramatic finish for winning squad.

Taking third place at 7-under 209 was Cary Patterson and Mike Craven who sandwiched a 69 between two 70’s.

The low round of the day went to Chris Maletis and Jerry Greenbaum, who fired a 66. The team started the tournament with a 69, but were derailed by a second-day 75 and finished in a tie for fourth at 6-under 209.

Also placing fourth was Bob Hullender and Van Lefferdink.

Full results follow:

Team Rd.1 Rd.2 Rd.3 Tot. Par
1 Mitchell, Ryan / Sanders, Joe 66 63 67 196 -20
T2 Moore, William / Boyns, Casey 68 68 69 205 -11
T2 Pigg, John / Lyons, Eddie 67 68 70 205 -11
T2 Kessler, Chris / Brown, Trent 69 69 67 205 -11
T2 Summers, Stephen / Summers, Steve 70 66 69 205 -11
T6 Funk, Robert / Bartman, David 66 70 70 206 -10
T6 John, Steve / Ledzinski, Jerry 68 68 70 206 -10
8 Bodenheimer, Steve / Myers, Kriss 71 69 70 210 -6
9 Horsch Jr, Carl / Ryan, Jim 69 72 70 211 -5
T10 Healer, Mark / Englander, Woody 69 72 71 212 -4
T10 Karper, Phil / McGee, Mac 73 65 74 212 -4
T10 Nelson, Hunter / Moore, David 70 71 71 212 -4
T10 Sullivan, Hollis / Dillard, Jeff 72 69 71 212 -4
T10 Gardner, Mark / Rice, Paul 71 71 70 212 -4
T10 Ream, Jim / Shlemmer, Rick 73 71 68 212 -4
T10 Burns, Ron / Anderson, Jay 68 74 70 212 -4
T10 House, R Mark / DeSantis, John 72 70 70 212 -4
18 Podolak, Michael / Newman, Russ 73 68 72 213 -3
T19 Cox, Kelly / Kohn, Tim 68 69 77 214 -2
T19 McDonald, John / Nolan, Rick 70 72 72 214 -2
T19 Kobalter, Kevin / Young, Gary 71 69 74 214 -2
T22 Creekmore III, Steve / Shumate, Bryon 75 69 71 215 -1
T22 Luther, Dan / Mooty, David 72 74 69 215 -1
T22 Albers, Bill / Griggs, Chris 69 71 75 215 -1
T25 McDonald, Robert / Brewer, Bob 73 72 72 217 +1
T25 Barker, Shawn / Curd Jr, James 72 72 73 217 +1
T25 Trent, Kevin / Simmons, Doug 73 73 71 217 +1
T25 McCray, Chandler / Benson, Charles 72 74 71 217 +1
29 Bohls, Rex / Thompson, Powell 74 70 74 218 +2
T30 Colwell, Kip / Hoffman, John 72 69 78 219 +3
T30 Hemphill, Gregg / Hallgrimson, Erik 69 77 73 219 +3
32 Seeman, Jason / Rismiller, David 75 73 72 220 +4
33 Dudley, Matt / Hill, Ryan 75 71 75 221 +5
34 Pescatore, Tony / Pospisil, E J 72 78 72 222 +6
T35 Epstein, Jeffrey / Frankel, Harris 77 75 71 223 +7
T35 Hall, Murray / Lucas, Scott 75 74 74 223 +7
37 Goode, John / Coon, Richard 77 73 75 225 +9
38 Baumann, Bruce / Barlow, Stephen 80 76 73 229 +13
39 Russell, SI / Putney, Jeff 75 80 81 236 +20

***** Senior Divison *****

Team Rd.1 Rd.2 Tot. Tot. Par
1 Heldmar, Bill / Brown, Roger 65 73 68 206 -10
2 Remington, Jeff / Richards, Bruce 69 68 70 207 -9
3 Patterson, Cary / Craven, Mike 70 69 70 209 -7
T4 Maletis, Chris / Greenbaum, Jerry 69 75 66 210 -6
T4 Hullender, Bob / Lefferdink, Van 73 68 69 210 -6
6 Nelson, Clint / Coates, Tom 72 71 70 213 -3
7 Post, Charlie / Mohr, Wes 74 72 69 215 -1
8 Howe, Bob / Hardin, Gary 76 73 68 217 +1
T9 Sharpe, Allen / Mahoney, Michael 71 74 73 218 +2
T9 Hutton, Jerry / Carroll, J David 71 72 75 218 +2
T11 Klumok, Maury / Hikes, Charles 74 73 72 219 +3
T11 Dobbs, Bill / Walker, John 70 72 77 219 +3
T11 Devlin, Tom / Toalson, Bill 73 74 72 219 +3
T11 McCarty, Russell / Wheeler, James 74 72 73 219 +3
15 Ellis, Jerry / Patterson, Phil 73 72 75 220 +4
16 Hotchkiss, Jim / Quinlivan, Jack 74 72 75 221 +5
17 Thompson, Steve / Bettis, Harry 73 74 75 222 +6
T18 Hatchett, Steve / Sica, Nick 71 76 77 224 +8
T18 White, Phil / Seaman, Gary 74 71 79 224 +8
20 Bowsher, Steve / Griffin, Edward 77 75 73 225 +9
21 Gray, Downing / Sisco, A B 75 77 74 226 +10
22 Wilkinson, Hank / Thalhuber, Gary 74 74 79 227 +11
23 Fouke, Bob / Baker, Jerry 73 81 77 231 +15

ABOUT THE Trans-Miss Four-Ball

One of three annual championships hosted each year by the historic Trans-Mississippi Golf Association. Each player must be a member of a Trans-Mississippi member 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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