OU’s Gellerman shares first-round lead at Trans-Miss at Southern Hills

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TULSA, Okla. – Three players shot 3-under-par 67s Tuesday to share the lead after the first round at the 111th playing of the Trans-Mississippi Championship.

Will Zalatoris from Plano, Texas, Michael Gellerman from Sterling, Kan., and Alex Franklin from San Rafael, Calif., took different routes to the top of the leaderboard at venerable Southern Hills Country Club, but they all left the grounds with a piece of first place.

The trio holds a two-shot lead over a pack of 10 players at 1-under 69. Eight more finished three strokes behind at even-par 70.

Franklin’s round might have been the most impressive from the elite 144-player field. He navigated the classic Perry Maxwell-designed course with nary a bogey and cashed in birdies on the fourth, 11th and 13th holes. Southern Hills has tested the mettle of the world’s best players in several eras, having played host to three U.S. Opens, four PGA Championships and dozens of elite amateur events. Franklin’s bogey-free scorecard made it appear as if he breezed through the first round of the 72-hole stroke play event, but he was the first to admit that wasn’t the case.

"Obviously I played really well," said Franklin, a soft-spoken senior at Oregon State. "But I really didn’t hit it great. I just saved everything."

Playing in the afternoon wave when the winds picked up and scoring conditions toughened, Franklin took just 27 putts–including nine one-putts–to post his score.

"I got a lot of fortunate breaks," he said. "There were two or three times that I had to save par from 30 or 40 yards. I’ve always been a strong putter, but today was really nice. Still, it was just the first round. I obviously have a lot of work left to do."

Zalatoris, an incoming freshman at Wake Forest, made five birdies against a pair of bogeys. Consecutive birdies on his 13th and 14th holes got Zalatoris to 4-under, but a bogey on his last hole–the tricky 376-yard par-4 ninth–dropped him back to 3-under 67. It will still good enough to share the lead.

"It was a fun day," said Zalatoris, who in June won the prestigious Texas Amateur Championship at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas. "I got off to a really good start."

After tugging his opening tee shot into the left rough, Zalatoris threaded a wedge under one tree and over another to stick the approach to three feet. The kick-in birdie set an early tone; he birdied three of his opening four holes.

"I knew it was going to be a pretty good day after that," he said. "The greens are soft, but you can’t fire at the pins. You have to respect this golf course. There’s a reason it’s hosted so many major championships."

Gellerman, a senior at Oklahoma, curled in six birdies to offset three bogeys for his 67. Despite posting one of the best three scores of the day, Gellerman said he didn’t do anything particularly fantastic.

"I drove it well enough and made a few putts. All in all, it was good enough," said Gellerman, who in April notched his first collegiate victory at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. "It was good, but it could’ve been even better."

Gellerman got some help from his OU teammate Charlie Saxon, who grew up in Tulsa and belongs to Southern Hills. Saxon, who finished tied for 29th individually at the NCAA Finals, recently injured his shoulder in a jet-ski accident and had to withdraw from the Trans-Miss. Even with the injury, Saxon was able to contribute as Gellerman’s caddie.

"He’s invited me to play here a few times," Gellerman said. "He lives close enough to walk here from his house."

Saxon’s knowledge of Southern Hills’ slick greens came in handy, Gellerman said.

"He definitely gave me some good reads," he said. "It was nice to have some local knowledge on my bag."

Thirteen players managed to successfully navigate through Southern Hills to break par for the first round. The revered course, which opened in 1936, played to a 74.34 stroke average in the first round. The tree-lined, hilly track measured 7,104 yards as a par 70 for the Trans-Miss. Southern Hills first hosted the annual championship in 1940, when Arthur Doering took home the title. Legendary Pennsylvania amateur William Hyndman III won the 1968 Trans-Miss at Southern Hills.

Thirty U.S. states and six countries were represented in this year’s international field. The Trans-Miss is one of the oldest amateur events in the country. Past champions include Jack Nicklaus (1959, ’60), Ben Crenshaw (1972), Bob Tway (1978) and Mark Brooks (1979), all who went on to win major championships as professionals.

Play continues Wednesday at 8 a.m. with the second round, after which the field will be cut to the low 54 scores and ties. The final 36 holes will be played Thursday.
Trans-Miss Golf Association
111th Trans-Mississippi Championship
Southern Hills Country Club
Round 1

Michael Gellerman, Sterling – 32-35–67
Alex Franklin, San Rafael – 34-33–67
Will Zalatoris, Plano – 34-33–67
Benjamin Baxter, Flower Mound – 33-36–69
Matthew Perrine, Austin – 33-36–69
Lorens Chan, Honolulu – 32-37–69
Aj McInerney, Henderson – 34-35–69
Carl Jonson, Bainbridge Island – 36-33–69
Matt Gilchrest, Southlake – 34-35–69
Jonathan Sanders, Chatsworth – 36-33–69
Austin Smotherman, Loomis – 35-34–69
Taylor Funk, Ponte Vedra – 36-33–69
Walker Huddy, Studio City – 34-35–69
Max Mcgreevy, Edmond – 34-36–70
Taylor Moore, Edmond – 33-37–70
Andrew Buchanan, Los Altos Hills – 35-35–70
Grady Brame Jr, Hammond – 38-32–70
Sam Saunders, Albuquerque – 34-36–70
Stratton Nolen, Austin – 35-35–70
Sarosh Adi, Frisco – 35-35–70
Curtis Reed, Castroville – 37-34–71
Kolton Crawford, Mansfield – 35-36–71
Sam Stevens, Wichita – 35-36–71
Scottie Scheffler, Dallas – 34-37–71
Kyle Weldon, Des Peres – 37-34–71
Beau Titsworth, Wexford – 35-36–71
Xander Schauffele, San Diego – 33-38–71
Joe Parkinson, Alpine – 34-37–71
Luke Vivolo, Carmel – 35-36–71
Grant Houser, Holly Springs – 35-36–71
Ryan Grider, Lewisville – 35-36–71
Clancy Waugh, North Palm Beach – 36-36–72
Brian Campbell, Irvine – 36-36–72
Matt Mabrey, Little Rock – 39-33–72
Cameron Harrell, Colorado Springs – 38-34–72
Kevin Schultz, Tulsa – 37-35–72
David Fink, Kailua – 34-38–72
Colby Harwell, Robinson – 36-36–72
Brendon Jelley, Tulsa – 36-36–72
Jeff Swegle, West Des Moines – 36-36–72
Anthony Marchesani, Oklahoma City – 36-36–72
Sam Johnston, Edmond – 36-37–73
Shotaro Ban, San Jose – 38-35–73
Gene Elliott, West Des Moines – 36-37–73
Landon Lyons, Baton Rouge – 35-38–73
Bryson Dechambeau, Clovis – 36-37–73
Jeremy Sanders, Chatsworth – 35-38–73
Bryon Shumate, Fort Smith – 37-36–73
Matt Van Zandt, Houston – 36-37–73
Daniel Hudson, Western Springs – 39-34–73
Gregory Yates, Mansfield – 37-36–73
Will Griffin, Lufkin – 37-36–73
Eric Ricard, Shreveport – 35-38–73
Kyle Pilgrim, Colleyville – 37-36–73
Joseph Abella, Plano – 38-35–73
Kade McBride, Queensland – 36-37–73
Connor Peck, Ankeny – 35-38–73
Cy Moritz, Owensville – 37-36–73
Tyler Thomas, San Marcos – 34-39–73
Josh Swanson, Bee Cave – 38-36–74
Christian Cichan, Charlotte – 38-36–74
Zach Wright, Phoenix – 38-36–74
Chelso Barrett, Surry – 39-35–74
Hayden Wood, Edmond – 37-37–74
Sam Humphreys, Edmond – 37-37–74
Sam Daley, Ames – 37-37–74
Paul Smith, Turlock – 34-40–74
Justin Keiley, Provo  – 36-38–74
Cameron Jones, Auckland – 38-36–74
Aaron Hickman, Tyler – 37-37–74
Andrew Wyatt, Midland – 39-35–74
Frederick Wedel, Roseville – 40-34–74
Grant Bennett, Lewisville – 40-34–74
Andrew Morgan, Long Beach – 37-37–74
Tayler Termeer, Austin – 38-36–74
Chad Merzbacher, Eden Prairie – 37-37–74
Stuart Smallwood, Paris – 37-37–74
Santiago Gavino, Austin – 38-36–74
Preston Fleenor, Mission Hills – 40-35–75
Jack Watson, Lincolnshire – 39-36–75
Logan McCracken, Oklahoma City – 38-37–75
Wesley McClain, Diboll – 37-38–75
Vincent Martino, Southlake  – 36-39–75
Ian Vandersee, West Des Moines – 38-37–75
Gavin Green, Petaling Jaya – 40-35–75
Dylan Meyer, Evansville – 36-39–75
Austin Eoff, Benton – 38-37–75
Alec Heinen, Edmond – 36-39–75
Ryan Han, Hollister – 37-39–76
Brent Brockermeyer, Los Angeles – 36-40–76
Andrew Lister, Katy – 37-39–76
Connor Black, Humble – 40-36–76
Tyler Klava, Pace  – 39-37–76
Hayden Beard, Mt Maunganui – 42-34–76
Cheng Jin, Singapore – 38-38–76
Brian Jung, Corvallis – 36-40–76
Zach Cabra, McKinney – 38-38–76
Hudson Carpenter, Stillwater – 38-38–76
Andrew Cornella, Colorado Springs – 38-38–76
Kenneth Fadke, Hobbs – 40-36–76
Chase Hanna, Leawood – 38-38–76
Sean Walsh, Keller – 40-36–76
Nick Heinen, Edmond – 39-37–76
Brax McCarthy, Fort Worth – 39-37–76
Aaron Cockerill, Manitoba – 38-38–76
Kevin Dehuff, Coto De Caza – 39-37–76
David Lee, Houston – 39-37–76
Miguel Delgado, Novato – 37-40–77
Anthony Maccaglia, Tampa – 38-39–77
Myles Lewis, New Orleans – 39-38–77
Andy Johnson, Tulsa – 39-38–77
Calvin Pearson, Wichita – 38-39–77
John Sawin, San Francisco – 37-40–77
Patrick Grimes, Palo Alto – 40-37–77
Tyson Reeder, Edmond – 39-38–77
Brett Walker, Las Cruces – 40-37–77
Lawrence Field, Tulsa – 39-38–77
Rylee Reinertson, Gibbon – 38-39–77
Eric Hallberg, Parker – 38-39–77
Chris Karlovich, Broken Arrow – 37-40–77
Colton Staggs, Tulsa – 40-37–77
Griffin Pierce, Edmond – 41-37–78
Drew Kirby, Baton Rouge – 37-41–78
Andrew Presley, Fort Worth – 39-39–78
Michael McGowan, Southern Pines – 39-39–78
Jacob Bishop, Edmond – 39-39–78
Jack Persons, San Francisco – 41-37–78
Scott Verplank, Edmond – 40-38–78
Conrad Walcher, Oklahoma City – 40-38–78
Jim Liu, Smithtown – 40-39–79
Peter Krsnich, Wichita – 42-37–79
Sean Romero, Texarkana – 42-37–79
Luke Toomey, Melville – 40-39–79
John McClure, Austin – 43-37–80
Gio Gandionco, Santa Clara – 42-38–80
Dominic Kieffer, Byron – 40-40–80
Jack Smith, Knoxville – 39-41–80
Marcus Jones, Argyle – 39-41–80
Blake Pugh, Southlake – 39-41–80
Eamon Bradley, Hammond – 41-41–82
Jordan Rodgers, Salt Lake City – 42-42–84
Charles Valluzzo, Mt Pleasant – 42-42–84
Mark Mance, Whitefish – 43-44–87

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