Zalatoris looks to add Trans-Miss to growing trophy case

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Update: The Trans-Mississippi Championship has been shortened to a 54-hole event with the final round beginning at 1 p.m. today. Heavy morning rains forced the cancellation of at least 18 holes of the planned 36-hole finale. The next assessment of the chances for playing a final 18 is scheduled at noon.

TULSA, Okla.–Will Zalatoris is no stranger to leading major amateur golf tournaments. The 17-year-old from Plano, Texas, on Wednesday shot a 2-under-par 68 in the second round of the 111th Trans-Mississippi Championship presented by TaylorMade-Adidas. He leads the prestigious event by one shot headed into the final 36 holes at Southern Hills Country Club.

An incoming freshman at Wake Forest, Zalatoris in June won the 105th Texas Amateur Championship at historic Brook Hollow by leading that elite field over the final two rounds. Now he’s in position to do it again, this time against another top group of competitors at yet another classic golf course. His two-day total of 5-under 135 is one better than Oregon State senior Alex Franklin’s 4-under 136. Auburn sophomore Matt Gilchrest is three back at 2-under 138.

Zalatoris, who played his final 14 holes bogey-free at 3-under, is comfortable out in front. Yet he’s smart enough to know there is plenty of golf to play. Sixty-eight players made the 36-hole cut, and they’ll all play the final two rounds Thursday.

"You hear a lot of leaders say that a lot can happen in the final round," Zalatoris said. "But a lot can happen to me times two because we have two rounds to play tomorrow."

Zalatoris entered the second round tied for the lead with Franklin, who hails from San Rafael, Calif., and Michael Gellerman from Sterling, Kan. Zalatoris admittedly got off to a slow start Wednesday with two bogeys on his opening four holes.

"I kind of hit the ‘reset button,’ which is silly to say after four holes," he said. "I hit a good drive on the (par-5) fifth hole and had 265 yards to the green. I hit a great shot onto the green and two-putted for birdie. So I treated it like a new round from that point."

From there, Zalatoris poured in birdies on his seventh and 10th holes and made pars the rest of the way in.

Four Oklahomans are in the top 10 mix. Taylor Moore of Edmond and the University of Arkansas is alone in seventh at 4-under after consecutive rounds of 70. Gellerman is in a group tied for eighth along with University of Oklahoma teammate Max McGreevy and Brendon Jelley of Jenks and Oklahoma State at 3-under 141.

Franklin continued his steady play with a 1-under 69 to get within a shot of Zalatoris. He said he was nervous to start the day, having less experience leading championships the size of the Trans-Miss.

"I’ve led before, but never in anything this big," Franklin said. "I finished tied for eighth in this tournament last year, but I was never close to the lead."

The early jitters accounted for two bogeys and a double-bogey in Franklin’s first six holes, even though he also made a pair of birdies in that stretch.

"I was pretty nervous," he said. "I made one big mistake. It was No. 13, my fourth hole. I had a wedge from the middle of the fairway and I put it in the water. I made an uncommitted swing. It could have been the nerves."

To his credit, Franklin remained positive and played his final 12 holes at 3-under par. He said his goal coming into the week simply was to make the cut. Now that he’s more than accomplished that, his goals obviously have changed. But he’s not going out for Thursday’s final 36 holes with winning on his mind.

"I try not to make goals that have to do with winning or finishing in a certain place because a lot of times that’s out of your hands," he said. "Someone could go out and shoot an amazing round. There’s nothing I can do about that."

Instead, Franklin said he has three goals for the final two rounds. He wants to "play solid golf, keep his emotions in check and avoid big mistakes."

"If I can do those things, I’ll be in great shape," he said.

Gilchrest, a Southlake, Texas, native, shot a second straight 1-under 69 on Wednesday and sits alone in third place.

"Tomorrow is going to be a marathon," he said. "But that’s why you practice: to get in a position to do something special in the final two rounds."

Jin Cheng, a 16-year-old from China, provided some fireworks early in the day when he aced the 174-yard, par-3 11th, his second hole of the day. He flushed an 8-iron and hit a high draw that arched towards the flagstick.

"It landed right next to the cup and went in," he said.

Cheng used the momentum to shoot an impressive 3-under 67. He said the ace was his first in competition; he has two other hole-in-ones in practice rounds. Through two rounds, Cheng is tied for 22nd place at 3-over 143. He shot 6-over 76 on Tuesday.

"Yesterday I started par, double-bogey, double-bogey," Cheng said. "I was 4-over through three holes. Today I was 2-under through two holes, so today was much better."

Three players are tied for fourth place at 1-under 139. Jonathan Sanders from Chatsworth, Calif., Kyle Weldon from Des Peres, Mo., and Brian Campbell from Irvine, Calif., will begin the third round four shots behind Zalatoris.

111th Trans-Mississippi Championship
Southern Hills Country Club – Southern Hills
Tulsa, Oklahoma

1             Will Zalatoris, Plano, Texas  – 67-68–135
2             Alex Franklin, San Rafael, Calif.  – 67-69–136
3             Matt Gilchrest, Southlake, Texas  – 69-69–138
T4           Jonathan Sanders, Chatsworth, Calif.  – 69-70–139
T4           Kyle Weldon, Des Peres, Mo.  – 71-68–139
T4           Brian Campbell, Irvine, Calif.  – 72-67–139
7             Taylor Moore, Edmond, Okla.  – 70-70–140
T8           Michael Gellerman, Sterling, Kan.  – 67-74–141

T8           Aj McInerney, Henderson, Nev.  – 69-72–141
T8           Taylor Funk, Ponte Vedra, Fla.  – 69-72–141
T8           Max Mcgreevy, Edmond, Okla.  – 70-71–141
T8           Curtis Reed, Castroville, Texas  – 71-70–141
T8           Cameron Harrell, Colorado Springs, Colo.  – 72-69–141
T8           Brendon Jelley, Tulsa, Okla.  – 72-69–141
T15         Benjamin Baxter, Flower Mound, Texas  – 69-73–142
T15         Carl Jonson, Bainbridge Island, Wash.  – 69-73–142
T15         Walker Huddy, Studio City, Calif.  – 69-73–142
T15         Joe Parkinson, Alpine, Utah  – 71-71–142
T15         Matt Mabrey, Little Rock, Ark.  – 72-70–142
T15         Chelso Barrett, Surry, N.H.  – 74-68–142
T15         Justin Keiley, Provo , Utah  – 74-68–142
T22         Lorens Chan, Honolulu, Hawaii  – 69-74–143
T22         Stratton Nolen, Austin, Texas  – 70-73–143
T22         Scottie Scheffler, Dallas, Texas  – 71-72–143
T22         Ryan Grider, Lewisville, Texas  – 71-72–143
T22         Daniel Hudson, Western Springs, Ill.  – 73-70–143
T22         Kade McBride, Queensland, Australia  – 73-70–143
T22         Cheng Jin, Singapore, China  – 76-67–143
T29         Austin Smotherman, Loomis, Calif.  – 69-75–144
T29         Clancy Waugh, North Palm Beach, Fla.  – 72-72–144
T29         Colby Harwell, Robinson, Texas  – 72-72–144
T29         Anthony Marchesani, Oklahoma City, Okla.  – 72-72–144
T29         Bryson Dechambeau, Clovis, Calif.  – 73-71–144
T29         Matt Van Zandt, Houston, Texas  – 73-71–144
T29         Will Griffin, Lufkin, Texas  – 73-71–144
T29         Ian Vandersee, West Des Moines, Iowa  – 75-69–144
T37         Matthew Perrine, Austin, Texas  – 69-76–145
T37         Grady Brame Jr, Hammond, La.  – 70-75–145
T37         Kolton Crawford, Mansfield, Texas  – 71-74–145
T37         Xander Schauffele, San Diego, Calif.  – 71-74–145
T37         Jeff Swegle, West Des Moines, Iowa  – 72-73–145
T37         Aaron Cockerill, Manitoba, Canada  – 76-69–145
T43         Beau Titsworth, Wexford, Pa.  – 71-75–146
T43         Luke Vivolo, Carmel, Calif.  – 71-75–146
T43         Gregory Yates, Mansfield, Texas  – 73-73–146
T43         Kyle Pilgrim, Colleyville, Texas  – 73-73–146
T43         Christian Cichan, Charlotte, N.C.  – 74-72–146
T43         Sam Daley, Ames, Iowa  – 74-72–146
T43         Cameron Jones, Auckland, New Zealan  – 74-72–146
T43         Aaron Hickman, Tyler, Texas  – 74-72–146
T43         Vincent Martino, Southlake , Texas  – 75-71–146
T43         Miguel Delgado, Novato, Calif.  – 77-69–146
T53         Andrew Buchanan, Los Altos Hills, Calif.  – 70-77–147
T53         Sam Stevens, Wichita, Kan.  – 71-76–147
T53         Kevin Schultz, Tulsa, Okla.  – 72-75–147
T53         David Fink, Kailua, Hawaii  – 72-75–147
T53         Jeremy Sanders, Chatsworth, Calif.  – 73-74–147
T53         Josh Swanson, Bee Cave, Texas  – 74-73–147
T53         Andrew Wyatt, Midland, Texas  – 74-73–147
T53         Tayler Termeer, Austin, Texas  – 74-73–147
T53         Chad Merzbacher, Eden Prairie, Minn.  – 74-73–147
T53         Stuart Smallwood, Paris, Texas  – 74-73–147
T53         Gavin Green, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia  – 75-72–147
T53         Dylan Meyer, Evansville, Ind.  – 75-72–147
T53         Alec Heinen, Edmond, Okla.  – 75-72–147
T53         Andrew Lister, Katy, Texas  – 76-71–147
T53         Anthony Maccaglia, Tampa, Fla.  – 77-70–147
T53         Myles Lewis, New Orleans, La.  – 77-70–147

Missed the Cut
T69         Cy Moritz, Owensville, Mo.  – 73-75–148
T69         Zach Wright, Phoenix, Ariz.  – 74-74–148
T69         Sam Humphreys, Edmond, Okla.  – 74-74–148
T69         Logan McCracken, Oklahoma City, Okla.  – 75-73–148
T69         Wesley McClain, Diboll, Texas  – 75-73–148
T69         Ryan Han, Hollister, Calif.  – 76-72–148
T75         Sam Saunders, Albuquerque, N.M.  – 70-79–149
T75         Sarosh Adi, Frisco, Texas  – 70-79–149
T75         Grant Houser, Holly Springs, N.C.  – 71-78–149
T75         Landon Lyons, Baton Rouge, La.  – 73-76–149
T75         Bryon Shumate, Fort Smith, Ark.  – 73-76–149
T75         Eric Ricard, Shreveport, La.  – 73-76–149
T75         Joseph Abella, Plano, Texas  – 73-76–149
T75         Hudson Carpenter, Stillwater, Minn.  – 76-73–149
T75         Patrick Grimes, Palo Alto, Calif.  – 77-72–149
T75         Rylee Reinertson, Gibbon, Neb.  – 77-72–149
T85         Gene Elliott, West Des Moines, Iowa  – 73-77–150
T85         Tyler Thomas, San Marcos, Texas  – 73-77–150
T85         Hayden Wood, Edmond, Okla.  – 74-76–150
T85         Santiago Gavino, Austin, Texas  – 74-76–150
T85         Connor Black, Humble, Texas  – 76-74–150
T85         Zach Cabra, McKinney, Texas  – 76-74–150
T85         Chase Hanna, Leawood, Kan.  – 76-74–150
T85         David Lee, Houston, Texas  – 76-74–150
T93         Shotaro Ban, San Jose, Calif.  – 73-78–151
T93         Connor Peck, Ankeny, Iowa  – 73-78–151
T93         Paul Smith, Turlock, Calif.  – 74-77–151
T93         Kenneth Fadke, Hobbs, N.M.  – 76-75–151
T93         Sean Walsh, Keller, Texas  – 76-75–151
T93         Nick Heinen, Edmond, Okla.  – 76-75–151
T93         Kevin Dehuff, Coto De Caza, Calif.  – 76-75–151
T93         Eric Hallberg, Parker, Colo.  – 77-74–151
T93         Colton Staggs, Tulsa, Okla.  – 77-74–151
T93         Andrew Presley, Fort Worth, Texas  – 78-73–151
T93         Scott Verplank, Edmond, Okla.  – 78-73–151
T104       Sam Johnston, Edmond, Okla.  – 73-79–152

T104       Tyler Klava, Pace , Fla.  – 76-76–152
T104       Hayden Beard, Mt Maunganui, New Zealan  – 76-76–152
T104       Brian Jung, Corvallis, Ore.  – 76-76–152
T104       Calvin Pearson, Wichita, Kan.  – 77-75–152
T104       John Sawin, San Francisco, Calif.  – 77-75–152
T104       Tyson Reeder, Edmond, Okla.  – 77-75–152
T104       Griffin Pierce, Edmond, Okla.  – 78-74–152

T104       Conrad Walcher, Oklahoma City, Okla.  – 78-74–152
T113       Frederick Wedel, Roseville, Calif.  – 74-79–153
T113       Andrew Morgan, Long Beach, Calif.  – 74-79–153
T113       Jack Watson, Lincolnshire, Ill.  – 75-78–153
T113       Michael McGowan, Southern Pines, N.C.  – 78-75–153
T113       Jacob Bishop, Edmond, Okla.  – 78-75–153
T113       Dominic Kieffer, Byron, Minn.  – 80-73–153
T119       Andrew Cornella, Colorado Springs, Colo.  – 76-78–154
T119       Brax McCarthy, Fort Worth, Texas  – 76-78–154
T119       Chris Karlovich, Broken Arrow, Okla.  – 77-77–154
T122       Austin Eoff, Benton, Ark.  – 75-80–155
T122       Luke Toomey, Melville, New Zealan  – 79-76–155
T122       John McClure, Austin, Texas  – 80-75–155
T122       Jack Smith, Knoxville, Tenn.  – 80-75–155
T126       Grant Bennett, Lewisville, Texas  – 74-82–156
T126       Andy Johnson, Tulsa, Okla.  – 77-79–156
T126       Drew Kirby, Baton Rouge, La.  – 78-78–156
T126       Jim Liu, Smithtown, N.Y.  – 79-77–156
T126       Peter Krsnich, Wichita, Kan.  – 79-77–156
T131       Preston Fleenor, Mission Hills, Kan.  – 75-82–157
T131       Brett Walker, Las Cruces, N.M.  – 77-80–157
T131       Jack Persons, San Francisco, Calif.  – 78-79–157
T131       Sean Romero, Texarkana, Ark.  – 79-78–157
T131       Gio Gandionco, Santa Clara, Calif.  – 80-77–157
T131       Marcus Jones, Argyle, Texas  – 80-77–157
T131       Blake Pugh, Southlake, Texas  – 80-77–157
138         Eamon Bradley, Hammond, La.  – 82-76–158
139         Jordan Rodgers, Salt Lake City, Utah  – 84-75–159
140         Lawrence Field, Tulsa, Okla.  – 77-83–160
141         Charles Valluzzo, Mt Pleasant, S.C.  – 84-78–162
142         Mark Mance, Whitefish, Mont.  – 87-78–165
143         Brent Brockermeyer, Los Angeles, Calif.  – 76-WD–WD

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