Jake Holbrook hits as Nate Shipley looks on (Back of the Range/EAGS photo)
It's shaping up to be a sprint to the finish line in the Trans-Miss on the final day. Neal Shipley and Jake Holbrook continue to share the spot at the top of the leaderboard. Today they both shot 69. Both players made four birdies and three bogeys.
University of Oklahoma's Drew Goodman and Wenyi Ding are one shot behind the leaders at 9-under par after the each shot 67. Ding recorded birdies on holes Nos. 4,6,8, and 14. The only blemish on the card was a bogey on the 12th hole.
Goodman's round was a bit more hectic. He made seven birdies and finished with a 32 on the back nine.
Rising sophomore at Tennessee, Lance Simpson, shot the low score of the day to jump into a solo fifth place. His 65 had no bogeys, and he's just two shots off the lead.
Mid-Am Evan Beck has improved his score by one shot every day. With rounds of 69-68-67, he is tied for eighth place and leading the Mid-Am battle by seven shots at 6-under par.
With plenty of birdies up for grabs, the final day will require the winner to be hotter than the temperature in Texas.
It was another very good day for Jake Holbrook. The Texan bettered his opening round 66 by a shot with a bogey-free 65. Over 36 holes, Holbrook has yet to record a bogey.
Neal Shipley teed off in the late wave and rode an eagle and two birdies in his last four holes to pull into a tie for the lead.
It's quite the crew that has lined up to chase Holbrook and Shipley over the next two days at Brook Hollow. Reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion Wenyi Ding is three shots off Holbrook's scorching pace after matching 67s. Andrew Goodman is also at 6-under par.
Both Ding and Goodman are gobbling up birdies; Ding has 10, and Goodman has 12.
There is a group of five players in fifth place five shots behind the leaders: Owen Stamper, Matt Troutman, Parker Bell, John Marshall Butler, and Nick Dunlap. Dunlap has been on an incredible tear winning the Northeast Amateur and the North and South in the last three weeks. He followed up a pedestrian 71 with a 65 in round 2. Can he hunt down Shipley and Holbrook?
It’s sure to be an action-packed, and hot, third round with so much talent In the field.
It's only going to get hotter this week in Texas, as a heat wave will bring Dallas temperatures close to 100 degrees.
That might give an advantage to those from Texas, or anywhere that triple-digit temps can happen. And sure enough, one of the players at 4-under and tied for the lead is from Texas - Jake Holbrook. The other three include a player from Pennsylvania (Neal Shipley), one from Kentucky (Owen Stamper), and one from Australia (Jack Buchanan). And we know it can get hot there.
Of course, it's early, and today marked the first of four medal play rounds.
We will provide updates throughout the week, and photos courtesy of the Back of the Range podcast
. Ben Adelberg and his team have been hard at work all summer as the official media providers for the Elite Amateur Golf Series.
by Art Stricklin, for AmateurGolf.com
Players in the 119th Trans-Mississippi Amateur Championship will find a familiar site at storied Brook Hollow Golf Club, but a radically new Keith Foster restoration as they begin play in one of the oldest elite amateur tournaments in America.
The Trans-Miss will visit Brook Hollow, an original A.W. Tillinghast design, for the seventh time this week, second most in tournament history, but the first time since Foster executed an ambitious renovation project in 2019 to bring the downtown Dallas course back to its Tillinghast roots,
“I can not wait until the top players see this course in competition,” said Finley Ewing IV, a Brook Hollow member and competitor this week at the Trans-Miss, which begins Tuesday and will run until Friday.
“I think the (Foster) renovation turned out great and this is easily one of the three best courses in the state now, but it’s a ball strikers course. If you miss the fairway or miss the greens, you could be in a whole lot of trouble. Especially if you have to chip the ball back uphill or down to the greens.”
Ewing owns a top 10 Trans-Miss finish at Denver Country Club, his best finish in four tournaments, but said his home course will test players ability and patience.
‘You better be able have the right pacing for your putts because even through the greens are large, they have a lot of undulations and you can putt off the green in a hurry.”
The event, part of the Elite Amateur Series, will serve as another important showcase for possible American players in the 2023 Walker Cup, which will be held September 2-4 at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.
American Walker Cup Captain Mike McCoy also serves as the Chairman of the Trans-Miss Golf Association and will be on site all week to watch potential players at Brook Hollow.
“I think this is one of best fields we’ve ever had recently for the Trans-Miss,” said tournament director Rob Addington. “Part of that is the Elite Amateur Series, which is drawing the top players here and part of that is the Walker Cup this year.”
Among past Trans-Miss winners includes Jack Nicklaus and more recently professional golf stars Byron DeChambeau and Will Zalatoris.
Among the top players this year includes Alabama sophomore Nick Dunlap, who won the 2021 U.S. Junior, qualified for the U.S. Open this year and over the last two week captured two-straight Elite Series events at the prestigious Northeast Amateur and the North and South at Pinehurst Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2.
“I think the combination of elite players and an elite course is going really going to be exciting,” said Addington. “The course is in pristine shape and nobody has seen it for a major tournament since the rennovation.”
Back in the early 1920s, Cameron Buxton was the businessman who asked his friend A.W. Tillinghast to source a location for a course in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the trained eye of the esteemed architect chose the then- rural setting, beside one of the Trinity River branches to the west of Dallas.
In 2019, the course closed for a Foster restoration with the express aim of returning the layout to its Tillinghast roots. The course reopened in November 2020 with plenty of 21st century technology including sub-air temperature controlled bent grass greens.
Addington, a Brook Hollow member himself, said the idea of the redo was to bring back the push up bunkers and large fairway bunking on the back nine much like Pine Valley Golf Club.
Dallas’ World Golf Hall of Fame member Lanny Wadkins was a feared amateur golf competitor and a former Trans Miss player himself and said the competitors this week should be in for an interesting week.
“When I played in the Tran-Miss and other events, I had the play the other players, but I also had to play the course if I hadn’t seen it before. With Brook Hollow, they will have their hands full.”
Brook Hollow Golf Club last hosted the TMGA Amateur Championship in 2006 (won by Robert Funk) and six more times, only Kansas City Country Club (8), has hosted it more times.
The sometimes Dallas golfing home of former President George W. Bush, who’s great- grandfather George Herbert Walker is namesake for the Walker Cup is ready for its elite amateur spotlight.
With defending champion William Mouw now playing as a professional, the tournament will definitely have a new champion this year. The question that Finley and Addington have is this. Are the best amateur players ready for Brook Hollow?