INDIAN WELLS, CA (May 25, 2017) - Gene Elliott shot a solid even-par 71 on Thursday at Eldorado Country Club to win the 2017 Trans-Mississippi Senior Amateur Championship.
Entering the final round Elliot had a six-shot lead -- a lead built on an amazing 5-under 66 in Wednesday's second round. Not only was it the low of the tournament, it was the only score posted in the 60s in triple digit heat.
A birdie-birdie-eagle stretch on holes 7-9 Wednesday put Elliott in the red quickly, and he never looked back.
To make matters more spectacular, due to the weather in Iowa, Elliott did not have an opportunity to play much before he left for the tournament, only playing 18 holes once in his home state this spring.
“I kind of figured out some things that round,” he said of his final round at home. “I changed my ball position and alignment. I think it helped a lot.”
In the final round, it was clear Elliott got over any pre-final round nerves quickly, as the 55-year-old from Des Moines birdied the first hole, a par-5. Elliot played consistent golf through the 13th hole. At that point he was then two under for the round, but back-to-back bogeys would bring the equipment company owner back to even-par, where he would finish the round. For the championship, Elliott shot 72-66-71= 209, 4-under par.
After the second round no other player came close to giving Elliott a real challenge, but Mark Morgan, with a strong back nine, came in second finishing the 54 holes at even-par 213.
Mike Rowley finished third firing rounds of 73-71-71, a consistent showing. Rowley is the founder of San Luis Obispo, CA-based golf apparel company Straight Down.
SUPER SENIOR DIVISION
Never, ever, give up. That's the lesson that Mark Miller's Super-Senior victory has for all of us competitive golfers, especially on a day when greens are fast and firm.
Miller, the most decorated senior player in the history of the AmateurGolf.com Tour, was a full 8-shots behind Jody Vasquez (and a number of other players) after posting 150 for the first two rounds. He was kicking himself for taking a stroke and distance penalty in the first round, then finding out later that the bushes he took relief from were ground under repair. Call it a senior moment, and perhaps one that focused Miller for the final round.
"I saw the guys behind me having trouble," said that dentist from Antioch, Calif. "I figured it I could post 71 I might have a chance to win."
Although Miller bogeyed his final two holes and didn't quite get to 71, his 73 was good enough for a one-stroke victory over Gary Kirwan (Stoneridge CC) and Jody Vasquez, who plays out of the famed Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Jim Martin put his endurance on display as the Legends Division was tied after 54 holes requiring six more holes in the scorching hot 91 degrees.
As a matter of fact, this was the coolest day of the week for the competitors with temperatures reaching triple digits just a few days earlier. Martin faced off against Michael Mahoney in the playoff, outlasting him with the energy of someone much younger.
“It was one of those things where we both kept it in play off the tee,” Martin said. “I hit some greens, and he kept getting up and down. He’s a very good player, and I was just fortunate to hang in there.”
ABOUT THE Trans-Miss Senior and Mid-Master
The championship will be contested over 54 holes
of individual stroke play with four divisions:
Mid-Master (ages 40+, max handicap 2.0), Senior
handicap 4.0), Super Senior
(65+, max handicap 10.0) and Legends (70+, max
Must be a
Trans-Mississippi Golf Association member
(players may make an individual contribution of
minimum to the Turf Scholarship Fund as part of the
entry process, in lieu of club membership).
View Complete Tournament Information