A one-stroke lead was “good enough” for Lewis Stephenson of Mansfield, Texas to win the senior division of the Trans-Miss Mid-Master & Senior Championship Thursday at La Quinta (Calif.) Country Club. After shooting an even-par 72 on the day, Stephenson finished with a three-day total of 1-under 215.
“I finally learned, the last couple of years, I have no control over anybody else,” Stephenson said. “Just play golf, and if it’s good enough, it’s good enough. If it’s not, it’s not.”
Thursday’s round was, in fact, good enough for Stephenson, who, with just one birdie and a bogey, edged runner-up Mark Morgan of Shingle Springs, Calif., for the win and senior division title. The win makes this Stephenson’s fourth senior win, joining his 2016 and 2019 Texas Senior Amateur Championships.
“Any time that I get to compete and finish high in a national tournament, it just means a lot to me,” Stephenson said. “It’s been one of my goals to expand my field, get to meet other people and play at other places, so this is just special today.”
Capturing the mid-master division was John Bearrie of Landrum, S.C. A spectacular holed bunker shot, reminiscent of a Memorial Tournament moment, sealed the victory.
“I literally got in the bunker, and Paul Azinger’s bunker shot to win the ’93 Memorial flashed through my head somehow,” Bearrie said. “I just hit the most perfect shot… it couldn’t come off any better and it just rolled in like a putt.”
Bearrie shot a 1-over 73 on the day, for a 217 three-day total, with Keith Kinsel of La Canada, Calif., following in second with a 2-over 74 and 219 total.
Jim Knoll of Sunnyvale, Calif., defended his super senior title, and finished the final round with a comfortable four-stroke win. Knoll shot a 1-under 71 for a 221 total with three birdies during his round Thursday.
“I’m very fortunate,” Knoll said. “The first day was just survival for me, and I played much better these last two (days).”
Christopher Blair of Nipomo, Calif., finished second in the division recording a 6-over 78, 225 total score.
Atop the legends division Thursday was Philip Svanoe of Carefree, Ariz. He claimed the win after shooting a 6-over 78, 227 three-day total score. Tom O’Grady followed behind in second, recording a 6-over 78, 220 total score on the tournament.
“I had some really good shots on all three rounds and some really sucky shots too,” Svanoe said. “I wish I could even it out a little more, but I’m so happy I played as well as I did.”
ROUND 2 RECAP
A new day, a new round. That was the motto for John Bearrie and many other competitors during the second round of the Trans-Miss Senior & Mid-Master Championship on Wednesday. After a 5-under 67, Bearrie jumped into the lead in the mid-master division with a two-day 144 total. He had opened with 77.
Six birdies and an eagle on 16 propelled Bearrie to the front of the pack. He holds a slim one-stroke lead over Keith Kinsel entering Thursday’s final round.
Kinsel, a member of the host La Quinta (Calif.) Country Club, started off his second round with a near hole-out from his second shot on 10 (his starting tee). The shot fell less than a foot away from the hole, and provided an easy tap-in for birdie to begin the day. Kinsel finished the day shooting 1-under 71. Mark Mance of Whitefish, Mont., finished two strokes behind the lead with a 2-over 72 for a total of 146.
After quality second rounds in the senior division, Allen Peake of Macon, Ga., and Lewis Stephenson of Mansfield, Texas lead with two-day totals of 143. Peak finished the day by shooting a 1-under 71. Stephenson shot an even-par 72.
Parker Scott of La Quinta shot a 2-under 70 on the day, sending him to the top of the super senior division with a two-day 145 total score. Christopher Blair of Nipomo, Calif., trails by two strokes after a 1-over 73, totaling 147 over two days.
In the legends division, Philip Svanoe of Carefree, Ariz., shot a 4-over 76, remaining at the top with a two-day 149 total score. Svanoe’s lead is two strokes over Tom Ogrady of Los Altos, Calif. Ogrady shot even-par 72 Wednesday, finishing with a two-day 151 total.
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).
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