Trans-Miss Amateur: Jake Holbrook defeats Neal Shipley in sudden-death for the title
Jake Holbrook - fist pump and a caddie leap (Art Stricklin for AG)
Jake Holbrook - fist pump and a caddie leap (Art Stricklin for AG)

by Art Stricklin - Exclusive to AmateurGolf.com

University of Oklahoma rising senior Jake Holbrook capped a dramatic back nine rally Friday with a 30-foot playoff birdie putt to capture the 119th Trans-Mississippi Championship at Brook Hollow Golf Club.

He trailed by five shots with four holes of golf left at the newly renovated layout near downtown Dallas but had birdies on Hole Nos. 15 and 17 while Ohio State rising Senior Neal Shipley suffered a disastrous triple bogey six on the par 3 17th hole.

“It didn’t look good for a long time today, but anything can happen, because it’s golf,” Holbrook said.

He finished at 68-268 total, 11-under-par. Shipley was also at 68-268. SMU senior Riley Lewis shot the low round of the final day under 100-degree heat, a 64, to finish third at 267, 10-under. John Marshall Butler and Andrew Goodman tied for fourth at 267, 9-under.

After Holbrook engineered a four-shot swing on the par 3 17th with his birdie and Shipley’s triple bogey to take the lead, he missed a 20-foot birdie putt on 18 which would have won him the prestigious amateur tournament in regulation.

Shipley then poured an 8-foot birdie putt on 18 tying the match, which sent the two golfers back to the 18th hole for a playoff.

“I hit a lot of good shots today and that birdie on 18 (in regulation) was pretty clutch,” Shipley said.

Both players found the fairway on the first playoff hole, but Holbrook, who had limited elite amateur experience and hadn’t won a tournament since the 2021 Oklahoma Stroke Play Championship, was short on his approach.

The ball spun backward, nearly rolling off the green and stopping 30 feet from the pin. Shipley was long and left, facing a 25-foot hard breaking left to right putt.

Holbrook was first to putt and knocked his putt into the hole for an unlikely birdie, giving the large crowd a double fist putt to celebrate. Shipley had a chance to extend the playoff, but his birdie putt lipped out, giving the title to Holbrook.

“To win this tournament means everything to me. I’m finally getting in some of these events and have a chance to compete against some of the best amateurs in the country. I always knew I had the talent, but I finally got a chance to prove it.”

The 17th hole was the key turning point in today’s final round. Holbrook had birdied No. 15 and pared No. 16, but still trailed by three stepping to the 17th tee.

He put his tee ball to six feet left of the pin. Shipley was up next, and he knocked his tee ball into the large lake which fronts the 185-yard hole.

“One bad swing on that hole cost me a lot today,” he said. “This one is going to sting for a while.”

He put his third shot past the hole and then three-putted from 10 feet for a ghastly triple bogey six. Holbrook knocked in his birdie putt for the one-shot lead. He said the tee shot on that hole was the key to the comeback.

“I think I put some pressure on him (Shipley) when I hit it close. The birdie on 15 and the birdie on 17 were keys to the comeback for me.”

Nick Dunlap – the winner of the last two Elite Series events – turned in another top-10 finish with rounds of 71-65-69-68-273, further aiding his chance for the U.S. team at the 2023 Walker Cup to be staged at the Old Course in Scotland in September.

Holbrook and Shipley will play next week at the Southern Amateur at the Honors Course outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee, another component of the Elite Amateur Series.

Results: Trans-Miss Championship
1TXJake HolbrookGranbury, TX100066-65-69-68=268
2PANeal ShipleyPittsburgh, PA70066-65-69-68=268
3AZRiley LewisPrescott, AZ50071-66-68-64=269
T4KYJohn Marshall ButlerLouisville, KY50068-68-68-66=270
T4OKDrew GoodmanNorman, OK50068-66-67-69=270

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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