Mark Mance & Don Dubois win Trans Mississippi Junior-Senior
Credit Trans Mississippi Golf Association
Credit Trans Mississippi Golf Association

A key to playing team golf is having a partner that can pick you up. After Mark Mance posted a 71 at the Canyon Course at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tuscon, Arizona, the low score in the second round of the 54-hole best-ball Trans Mississippi Junior-Senior Championship Saturday of his team alongside Don Dubois, Mance struggled Sunday. The tournament returned to the Mountain Course, back to the home of the first round of the Trans Mississippi Junior-Senior Championship. The 2016 Montana Mid-Amateur winner only contributed on two holes.

However, that's all thrown out the window on the final hole. Mance came through with a par on the last, picking up one of Dubois's only two bogeys Sunday to polish off a seven-under 65 for the team, the lowest round of the tournament, and a one-shot victory over Brian Lovett and Mike McCoy.

"My partner played spectacular," Mance told, "he shot 67 on his own ball. I was there to drive the cart and make a few pars here and there. To be perfectly honest with you, he played great."

Dubois posted five-under on the opening side Sunday, eagling the par 5 4th to surge to a tie with the 36-hole leaders through nine. It was a five-stroke improvement over the same side for the team from Friday. The difference was putts dropping for the 2019 U.S. Mid Am qualifying medalist Friday versus Sunday, with the flatstick delivering him to six-under par through 10 holes.

"Third day we kept talking," Mance explained, "you start making some putts you’re going to shoot low. He made a bunch of putts, but he played great. He didn’t really miss a shot until 11, drove it left out of play and I made a par."

Birdies on 10 and 16 for Dubois added up to their two-under back nine, with Mance's pars on 11 and 18 offsetting Dubois's rare missteps. The team believed they were in the mix after the opening side, believing the winning score Sunday would be 12-under par. They discovered they were in the lead after talking with tournament director Amanda Kolb on the 14th, as there was no live scoring at the tournament.

The 36-hole leaders Lovett and McCoy built their advantage by being the only team to shoot in the 60s in each of the first two rounds, with McCoy, 2015 USA Walker Cup team member, carrying the team at the Mountain Course and Lovett leading the way at the Canyon Course. After carding three birdies on the back nine of the mountain course Friday, the 36-hole leaders only birdied the par 3 14th Sunday, shooting two-under par.

The difference came on the birdieable 18th, with Mance sitting 30 feet away for his birdie. The duo believed he needed to make it for the win. It clanked off the flagstick to seven feet away.

"I usually pull the flag out," Mance said, "for some reason I kept it in. If the flag had been out, it might’ve gone in."

Mance made the comebacker for his second and crucial contribution Sunday, fending off the leaders who also parred the last.

Defending champions Chad Spencer and Jimmy Burke sputtered in the opening round, posting a five-over-par 77, before settling in over the weekend to finish even par for the tournament, good for T10.

ABOUT THE Trans-Miss Junior-Senior

Introduced in 2021, this is one of four annual championships hosted each year by the historic Trans-Mississippi Golf Association. The Championship will be contested over 54 holes of Four-Ball Stroke Play with two Divisions; Scratch and Handicap. The scratch division teams will have a combined handicap index at 8.0 and under. The handicap division will have a combined handicap index over 8.0. Each team is comprised of one plater age 25+ and another age 55+. 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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