Knopp, Collier lead by three at Trans-Miss Four-Ball
Clark Collier
Clark Collier

SANTA FE, N.M. (September 8, 2014) — The winds kicked up a little in the afternoon wave for the Championship Division at at the 34th annual Trans-Mississippi Four-Ball Championship on the Sunrise Course at The Club at Las Campanas, but it didn't seem to bother the Edmond, Okla., team of Dr. Brad Kropp and Clark Collier (pictured). They posted a 6-under 66 to lead their division by three strokes. Kropp, a pediatric urologist, and Collier, a geologist who recently turned 25, birdied their first three holes to dive into red numbers.

"We got off to a really hot start," said Collier, a childhood friend of Kropp's son Will, who plays on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. "We were 6-under through 10 holes and kind of cruised in from there."

Kropp and Collier make an interesting team, as each plays their own, distinctly different game. The younger Collier is 30-40 yards longer off the tee and a club longer on par 3s.

"I just put us in good position, and that frees Clark up to swing freely," Kropp said. "It's been working beautifully so far."

Kropp and Collier lead by three over five teams, including Allen Horne and Woody Englander from Austin, Texas.

Doug Pool and Herb Fisher on Monday collectively drained 115 feet of putts in three holes on their way to a stellar 8-under-par 64 to lead the Senior Division by two shots.

Fisher, from The Woodlands, Texas, started the barrage with a 55-foot birdie on the par-3 fourth hole. He poured in a 30-footer for par on the fifth hole, and then watched Pool drop a 30-foot bomb for par on the sixth hole.

"The key today for us was putting," Fisher said with a smile. "I putted extremely well, and Doug was hitting it close all day."

Both men have played in several Trans-Miss Senior Championships, but this is their first appearance in the Four-Ball. They said they felt good coming into the week and felt confident that they could win the Senior Division title.

"We didn't miss a par putt that counted," said Pool, who lives in Las Vegas. "We'll try to shoot lower tomorrow."

The format for the two-man team event is 54 holes of team stroke play. Each division -- Championship (25 years and older), Senior (55 and older), Super Senior (65 and older) -- plays from separate tees and faces a 36-hole cut. Perched at 7,200 feet above sea level, the par-72 Sunrise Course, one of the club's two Jack Nicklaus Signature tracks, played to 7,256 yards for the Championship Division, 6,733 yards for the Seniors and 6,453 for the Super Seniors.

Four-time winners of the Trans-Miss Four-Ball Eddie Lyons from Shreveport and John Pigg from Bee Cave, Texas, lurk two shots behind Pool and Fisher. Lyons and Pigg turned in a 6-under 66 that featured an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole.

"It was a good round, but it could've been a lot better," said Lyons, a Trans-Miss Board Member. "It'll do for today."

Two teams share a piece of third place in the Senior Division. Lee Sandlin and Warren Huddleston, both from Dallas, made five birdies and a bogey to post 4-under 68. Ted Hutton and Robert Schneider, both from Santa Fe, did the same.

In the Super Senior Division, Bill Heldmar from Tulsa, Okla., and Roger Brown from Scottsdale, Ariz., scorched Las Campanas with a bogey-free 8-under 64. They combined for eight birdies and lead their division by a shot over Steve Dallas and Edward Smith, both from Mesa, Ariz.

The second round begins Tuesday at 8 a.m.

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ABOUT THE Trans-Miss Four-Ball

One of four 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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