Trans-Miss Am: William Mouw wins three-way sudden-death playoff
William Mouw made it back-to-back Pepperdine wins at the Trans-Miss. (Conner Penfold/AmateurGolf.com)
William Mouw made it back-to-back Pepperdine wins at the Trans-Miss. (Conner Penfold/AmateurGolf.com)

The Denver Country Club membership was out in full force this week at the 118th Trans-Mississippi Amateur Championship. They were rewarded with a spectacular finish as they cheered from beside the 18th green.

William Mouw sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the second sudden-death playoff hole, putting an exclamation point on a thrilling final round with a massive fist pump.

“It was pretty incredible to see that go in,” Mouw said. “That’s what you practice for; moments like this.”

It's the second consecutive year that a Pepperdine golfer has won the Trans-Miss in extra holes. In 2021, it was Minnesota local Derek Hitchner coming from nine back on the final day to force a playoff at Windsong Farm.

Connor Jones was looking to access a different storyline. With Hitchner winning outside his hometown of Minneapolis a year ago, Jones had the chance at a similar feat. The Colorado State senior from nearby Westminster, Colo. shot 66 on Saturday to reach 9 under. He matched pars with Mouw on the first playoff hole, and had a 15-foot look for birdie after the pair rewound to play the 18th all over again.

Jones’ putt up onto the plateau slipped by the hole. Mouw’s breakout 2022 season rolls on.

The Chino, Calif. native 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 final qualifying tournaments. This came on the heels of three consecutive top-fives in collegiate play for the Waves, spanning the West Coast Conference Championship, NCAA Southwest Regional, and NCAA Men’s Championship.

William Mouw hitting his second shot at the par-5 8th during the final round of the 2022 Trans-Miss Amateur Championship. (Conner Penfold/AmateurGolf.com)

“This has been a culmination of hard work over the last three, four years,” Mouw said. “Digging it out of the dirt and having fun while I’m doing it.”

The first to exit the three-way playoff was Duke University sophomore Luke Sample, whose story would have been improbability had he prevailed.

On Thursday as round two was winding to a close, Sample birdied 16 and parred 17 and 18 to make the 36-hole cut on the number. Trailing by nine on Friday and by six on Sunday, Sample willed his way up the leaderboard. A third-round 67 paved the way for a head-turning 29 on his outward nine Saturday morning.

“Anything can happen once you make the cut,” Sample said.

Sample, who attended high school in the New York borough of Manhattan, wrapped up a final-round 64 and waited nearly two hours as the remainder of the field battled triple-digit temperatures and an increasingly-challenging golf course.

“I didn’t initially think it was going to be enough, but I had to be mentally ready,” Sample said.

Sample grabbed a bite to eat and began warming up as the final pairings meandered Denver Country Club’s closing nine. He was the only playoff participant to hit the fairway on the 480-yard 18th during the first go-around, but his short iron found the right greenside bunker and led to an eliminating bogey.

Luke Sample hitting his first tee shot during the final round of the 2022 Trans-Miss Amateur Championship. (Conner Penfold/AmateurGolf.com)

No player reached the 11 under mark during the 72-hole championship, but plenty of contenders achieved double-digit red figures at various moments. Fresno State’s Kevin Huff was the last to get to 10 under, sitting in the 16th fairway with a one-shot lead in the second-to-last group. Following in line with Jones and Sample, a bogey at the quirky, reachable par-4 16th proved to be costly.

Huff, of El Dorado Hills, Calif., finished in a six-way tie for fourth place at 7 under after additional bogeys on 17 and 18.

New Zealand’s Samuel Jones carded 66 on Saturday and overtook Joe Neuheisel as the highest-finishing Mid-Amateur in the field. Jones tied for 20th at 4 under, while Neuheisel, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., tied for 39th at even par.

Mouw’s victory etches his name beside notable past Trans-Miss winners Jack Nicklaus (1958, 1959), Ben Crenshaw (1972), Bryson DeChambeau (2013), Will Zalatoris (2014, 2016), and Collin Morikawa (2015).

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.

2022 Trans-Mississippi Amateur

Results: Trans-Miss Championship
1CAWilliam MouwChino, CA100066-68-68-69=271
T2COConnor JonesWestminster, CO70065-67-73-66=271
T2NYLuke SampleNew York, NY70071-69-67-64=271
T4CAKevin HuffEl Dorado Hills, CA50068-70-65-70=273
T4TXJake HolbrookGranbury, TX50072-65-67-69=273

View full results for Trans-Miss Championship

ABOUT THE Trans-Miss Championship

The Trans-Miss is one of the oldest and most storied golf tournaments in the United States. 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 as an open amateur tournament, and immediately established itself as a "must-play" among top collegiate and mid-am players, while changing to a 72-hole stroke play format. The field size starts at 144 players from Trans- Mississippi Golf Association member clubs (or players receiving a special invitation from the Championship Committee). After 36 holes, a cut is made to the low 54 and ties who play the final two rounds.

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