William Mouw is one of four players atop the leaderboard. (Conner Penfold/AmateurGolf.com)
Friday was moving day at Denver Country Club, but the leaders moved backward.
After David Timmins
nearly reached double digits under par on Thursday, four players emerged out of a pack at the Trans-Miss Amateur Championship. The foursome of William Mouw
, Ben Warian
, Jeffrey Guan
, and Connor Gaunt
are deadlocked at 8 under heading to Saturday's final round.
All four players atop the leaderboard were at least three back entering Friday. Meanwhile, Thursday's top five all carded over-par rounds on day three. That's a recipe for big moves to pay dividends.
From seven back into the final pairing came Warian, a junior at the University of Minnesota. The Golden Gopher from Stillwater, Minn. served as the pace car off the first tee Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. But roughly 90 minutes later, having played just seven holes, Warian was suddenly in the thick of it.
"All I could really control was giving myself good looks from below the hole, and I did a good job of that today," Warian said.
He circled numbers on his scorecard on holes 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7, putting him at 7 under right as the leaders were being handed their scorecards on the first tee box. He added one additional birdie on his way to a bogey-free 64 — a spectacular 2 that was one of just four birdies made Friday at the 220-yard par-3 17th.
"It really wasn't at the forefront of my mind," Warian said. "I had no idea what those leaders were going to do. I didn't know how it was going to play in the afternoon, but I probably got a bit of a softer golf course being the first group off."
Ben Warian on the practice putting green following his third-round 64 at Denver Country Club. (Conner Penfold/AmateurGolf.com)
Timmins did eventually get to 10 under thanks to a birdie at the par-4 3rd, and held it there until a trio of bogeys derailed things shortly after making the turn. He and his playing partners, Carson Bacha
and Harrison Crowe
, combined to go 7 over in their third rounds, posting scores of 72, 72, and 73, respectively.
Yesterday's biggest mover, the 17-year-old Guan of Sydney, Australia, can resinate with Warian. He hit all 18 greens and converted seven chances on Thursday to go from potentially missing the cut into the top-10. His 7-under-par 63 matched Timmins' first-round performance, giving the pair a share of Denver Country Club's competitive course record.
: Round 1/2 Recap
Now, with six more birdies and a 67 on Friday, Guan is tied for the lead.
"Today was a bit of a shock," Guan said. "I expected someone to be at 15 under by the end of three rounds."
With 100-degree heat and a continually-drying golf course on the horizon, it might be 15 under that gets a player's name etched beside Collin Morikowa, Will Zalatoris, and Bryson DeChambeau.
"Today on the first hole, I had a six-foot putt and just touched it and it went four feet past," Guan said of the toughening conditions. "The pins were pretty brutal today, too."
Jeffrey Guan teeing off at the par-4 18th during the third round of the Trans-Miss Amateur Championship. (Conner Penfold/AmateurGolf.com)
While Guan will fall back into the second-to-last group, his two playing partners from Friday are set to join Warian in the final pairing Saturday. Mouw, a soon-to-be senior at Pepperdine, and Gaunt, an LSU senior by way of Arkansas Tech, each carded 68 in their third rounds.
Mouw made headlines last month with his dominating performance at U.S. Open Final Qualifying
on The Olympic Club's Ocean Course. He medaled by five, making his cushion the most lopsided of the 11 U.S. Open final qualifying tournaments.
"Patience was key for me today," Mouw told the Trans-Miss Golf Association. "I got off to a slow start, but stayed with my game plan."
The native of Chino, Calif. didn't cash in a birdie until the reachable par-5 13th, but would go on to make a couple more coming in to reach the top of the leaderboard.
Gaunt, a five-shot winner at this year's Arkansas Amateur, had a similar round to that of Mouw, but packaged all three of his birdies before Mouw's 4 at the 13th.
"I think the big story all week is my putter has been good," Gaunt told the Trans-Miss Golf Association. "I made some momentum putts 10 feet and in for par. I've driven the ball good and plan to leave it all out there tomorrow."
All eyes will be on the scoreboard as the High Plains heat bears down on the remaining 59 players, 24 of which are within four shots of the leaders at 8 under. Defending champion Derek Hitchner
is just three back looking to become the first repeat champion since Zalatoris won his second in 2016.
Louisville golfer Jiri Zuska, who will enter the final round just one shot back, hitting his approach shot into the par-4 18th during the third round of the Trans-Miss Amateur Championship. (Conner Penfold/AmateurGolf.com)
Denver Country Club, the oldest club west of the Mississippi, has hosted six previous Trans-Miss Championships throughout the club’s distinguished history, most recently in 2010 when Scott Pinckney won the tournament's first rendition since switching to a 72-hole stroke play event. More than 80 club members are volunteering for the event by providing host housing, spotting, and scoring for the championship.
ABOUT THE Trans-Miss Championship
The Trans-Miss is one of the oldest and
most storied golf tournaments in the United
For 106 years the championship
was played in a match play format.
Past champions include Jack Nicklaus (1958
and 1959), Charles Coe (1947, 1949, 1952 and
1956), Deane Beman (1960), George Archer
(1963), Ben Crenshaw (1972), Gary Koch
(1973), Bob Tway (1978), Mark Brooks (1978)
and other professional tour notables. In
1987 the championship was changed to a mid-
amateur age requirement, and a senior division
was also added. Starting in 2010, the Trans-
Mississippi Championship, returned to its roots
open amateur tournament, and immediately
established itself as a "must-play" among
top collegiate and mid-am players, while
a 72-hole stroke play format. The field size
144 players from Trans-
Mississippi Golf Association member clubs (or
players receiving a special invitation from the
Championship Committee). After 36 holes, a cut
made to the low 54 and ties who play the final
View Complete Tournament Information