FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Despite cool temperatures and periodic rains, several teams managed to better par in the first round of play at the 36th Trans-Mississippi Four-Ball Championship at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz.
The largest of the three divisions in the field this week, the Championship Division was led by Ben Blundell and Jordan Cook from Oklahoma City, who posted an 8-under score of 63 in their opening round. Blundell and Cook are not strangers to the top of the Trans-Miss Four-Ball leaderboard as they took home runner-up honors in the 2015 edition of the championship. Blundell and Cook were bested in extra holes by eventual champions and fellow Oklahoma residents, Lawrence Field and Draegen Majors at The Honors Couse in Ooltewah, Tenn.
Blundell and Cook rang off six birdies and an eagle to get to 8 under and grab the first round lead. Not far behind and finding birdies of their own are twelve other groups in the Championship Division, who each posted scores under par. With darkness falling around the rugged mountain landscape this evening, play was suspended at 6:26 pm. Competitors will resume play at 8:00 am (MDT) to complete their first round, ahead of second round play.Among the 62 teams in the starting field, 25 found red numbers on the challenging Canyon Course layout.
In the Senior Division, Steve Van Herpe from Temecula, Calif., and Dan Pouliot of Burbank, Calif., set the pace by carding a 7-under 64 to take the first round lead in their division.
Only one shot behind the steady and efficient play of Van Herpe and Pouliot are Bill Jackson from Oklahoma City, Okla., and Mac McGee who hails from Midland, Texas. The team of Jackson and McGee managed four birdies on both the front and back nine, faltering only on two of the most challenging of par fours offered by the Canyon Course; namely, the seventh and 17th holes, which played 425 and 366 yards, respectively. With their opening round 6-under 65, Jackson and McGee have six other teams under-par and looking to make up ground in tomorrow’s second round.
In the Super Senior Division, which is contested by players aged 65 and over, Dave Sheff of Dana Point, Calif., and teammate Rich Tolly of Laguna Hills, Calif., led with an opening round 67 at 4-under for the day. Starting on the first hole, Sheff and Tolly stumbled out of the gate with a bogey on the par four 357 yard opener, but responded with two consecutive birdies en route to their division-leading 67.
At the conclusion of 36 holes on Wednesday evening, the field will be cut to the low 48 teams (and ties), with a pro-rated representation from each division. A revision to the format this year, the pro-rated allocation of teams making the cut from each division is as follows: Championship (17 teams and ties); Senior (17 teams and ties); and, Super Senior (14 teams and ties).
Forest Highlands Golf Club is no stranger to hosting national amateur events. Previously it hosted the 1996 U.S. Junior and 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships on the Canyon Course. Designed by the architectural duo of Weiskopf and Morrish in 1986, the Canyon Course was carved out of breathtaking forest and rugged mountain terrain. A unique characteristic of the layout is the run of six par 3s between the fourth and 14th holes. The unique and challenging northern Arizona layout will continue to test competitors in an always exciting team Four-Ball format.
Second round play commences on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 8:00 a.m. (MDT). For more information pertaining to the championship, please click here. For first round scoring and second round pairings/starting times, please click here.
36th Trans-Miss Four-Ball Championship
Forest Highlands — Canyon Course
Blundell, B. / Cook, J. — 32-31–63
Funk, R. / Bartman, D. — 32-32–64
Fernando, D. / George, K. — 33-32–65
Joseph, E. / Johnson, H. — 34-33–67
Capasso, A. / Dwight, R. — 32-36–68
Carreon, M. / Combs, B. — 33-35–68
Licursi, D. / Osborn, B. — 35-33–68
Andersen, W. / Tridle, S. — 33-36–69
Stayer, P. / Brellenthin, J. — 32-37–69
Banghart, T. / Epstein, J. — 33-37–70
Ellis, R. / Kane, L. — 37-33–70
Griggs, C. / Miyamoto, C. — 35-35–70
Sigman, M. / Capel, D. — 34-36–70
Munson, R. / Showalter, M. — 35-36–71
Ober, D. / Stires, T. — 35-36–71
Sexton, E. / Carlson, C. — 34-37–71
Vedadi, J. / Mangini, R. — 34-37–71
Bendetti, J. / Sposi, J. — 37-35–72
Brewer, B. / McDonald, R. — 33-39–72
Laughlin, T. / Quintero, R. — 35-38–73
White, J. / Jones, S. — 38-38–76
Erling, B. / Humbles, B. — Will resume play at 8:00 am (MDT).
Vinson, B. / Davis, B. — Will resume play at 8:00 am (MDT).
Van Herpe, S. / Pouliot, D. — 32-32–64
Jackson, B. / McGee, M. — 32-33–65
Field, L. / Mitchell, M. — 31-35–66
Kilby, R. / Nunez, L. — 33-35–68
Fisher, H. / Hageman, R. — 37-32–69
Grace, J. / Peebles, J. — 35-35–70
King, R. / Ameen, M. — 36-34–70
New, J. / Phinny, P. — 34-36–70
Holstead, B. / Wright, W. — 32-39–71
Turner, E. / Neal, B. — 35-36–71
DeWar, V. / Poole, J. — 35-37–72
Hoffman, F. / Williams, J. — 35-37–72
Lujan, L. / Quinlan, M. — 35-38–73
Smith, B. / Howell, R. — 35-38–73
Mooty, D. / Mooty, C. — 38-36–74
Slayton, J. / Walley, B. — 35-39–74
Barker, S. / Taylor, B. — 38-37–75
Adams, G. / Kurz, D. — 38-38–76
Turner, R. / Norman, J. — 37-39–76
McCarty, R. / Beechner, S. — 37-40–77
White, D. / Melcher, T. — 40-37–77
Sheff, D. / Tolly, R. — 32-35–67
Haney, M. / Baker, D. — 33-35–68
Hardin, G. / Mokler, G. — 35-35–70
Olive, J. / Smith, C. — 34-36–70
Dallas, S. / Smith, E. — 34-37–71
Donofrio, J. / Bryson, R. — 34-37–71
Guerin, J. / Fleming, B. — 36-35–71
Hamm, R. / Thames, W. — 36-35–71
Hatchett, S. / Stevens, J. — 35-36–71
Berthiaume, D. / Davis, T. — 36-36–72
Boyd, S. / Redfern, K. — 38-34–72
Hare, P. / Biele, A. — 35-37–72
Martin, J. / Seaman, G. — 36-36–72
Devitt, L. / Hope, B. — 37-36–73
Leslie, N. / Larose, R. — 36-37–73
Murphy, W. / Jones, A. — 35-38–73
Schneider, A. / Shemano, G. — 37-37–74
Watts, S. / Horne, D. — 41-35–76