Zalatoris wins rain-shortened Trans-Miss at Southern Hills

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 TULSA, Okla.–Will Zalatoris has won golf tournaments a lot of different ways, but never like this.

The 17-year-old from Plano, Texas, on Thursday won the 111th Trans-Mississippi Championship presented by TaylorMade-Adidas without swinging a club on the final day. Severe thunderstorms wiped out the last two rounds of the prestigious annual event after tournament organizers made multiple attempts to get the 68 players who made the cut back on the golf course at Southern Hills Country Club. Zalatoris won with a two-day total of 5-under-par 135.

     "It’s mixed emotions, because I rather would have played golf today," said Zalatoris, who in June also won the revered Texas Amateur Championship at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas. "I wanted to play for two reasons. One, I’m 17 and I wanted the experience of playing under pressure. One day I hope to play professional golf and this is part of that process. And two, I absolutely love this golf course. I’m biased, but Southern Hills is seriously one of the best courses I’ve ever played. Everything is right in front of you; nothing is tricked up. And it is hard. I mean, this is a really hard golf course, and I love it."

     Alex Franklin, a senior at Oregon State, finished in second place. He said at the beginning of the week his goal was to make the cut. He did much better than that, registering the only bogey-free round of the championship with a 3-under 67 in the first round. Franklin, who hails from San Rafael, Calif., added a 1-under 69 in the second round to post 4-under 136 for the weather-shortened championship.

     "It’s bittersweet for me," Franklin said. "Obviously you want a chance to win that trophy, and this course is so awesome that I wanted to keep playing it. Getting the chance to play Southern Hills in championship condition was a special treat, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. But it’s definitely still a ‘win’ for me. I didn’t have very good form coming into this week, so I’m very happy with how I played. There are a ton of positives to take away."

     Matt Gilchrest from Southlake, Texas, took third place at 2-under 138 with a pair of 1-under 69s. Jonathan Sanders from Chatsworth, Calif., Kyle Weldon from Des Peres, Mo., and Brian Campbell from Irvine, Calif., rounded out the top-five. They all tied for fourth place at 1-under 139.

     The day began with a five-and-half-hour delay after early morning thunderstorms brought dangerous lightning strikes near the golf course. After Tournament Director Dave Prinz canceled the fourth round and attempted to shorten the Trans-Miss to 54 holes, play re-started at 1 p.m.

     It didn’t last long, however.

     Twenty-eight minutes later more serious weather blew in, bringing more lightning. By 3 p.m. Prinz again tried to re-start play, but another round of lightning forced his hand.

     "Today was a little bit of a challenge," said Prinz, also the Director of Operations for the Trans-Miss Golf Association. "We knew there would be thunderstorms today, but we tried to give it a shot. Ultimately Mother Nature won out."

     So did Zalatoris. Headed to Wake Forest this fall on the Arnold Palmer Scholarship, it wasn’t lost on Zalatoris that fellow Texan Kelly Kraft in 2011 won the Texas Amateur and Trans-Miss Championship before going on to win the U.S. Amateur. With the victory at Southern Hills, Zalatoris has two legs of the major amateur trifecta under his belt.

     "I would love to follow in those footsteps, obviously," he said. "I have my U.S. Amateur Qualifier coming up, so I’m hopeful that it can happen."

Regardless of his U.S. Amateur outcome, Zalatoris qualified for another big tournament with his Trans-Miss Championship. He’ll receive a sponsor’s exemption into the 2015 Air Capital Classic on the Tour. The TMGA on Wednesday announced the new agreement with the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit, and Zalatoris said he can’t wait to tee it up in Wichita, Kan., next spring for the Air Capital Classic.

     Though they weren’t playing in the same group during the second round, Zalatoris and Franklin were tied for the lead several times. Zalatoris moved ahead for good with a birdie on his 10th hole, then willed in eight straight pars to post his 2-under 68.

     "On the scorecard it may have looked like I cruised in, but I definitely didn’t," he said. "I only hit three greens on my final eight holes. I had to make some seriously difficult par saves. I’m really proud of the way I played this week."

     Throughout the storied 111-year history of the Trans-Miss Championship, only a handful of players have successfully defended their titles. One of those was 18-time major championship winner Jack Nicklaus, who won the Trans-Miss in 1959 and ’60. Zalatoris has a chance to do the same next July at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan.

     "I’ll definitely be back for this next year," Zalatoris said. "This is a very well-run championship with a great reputation. I’m proud to have won it."

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         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
T21         Lorens Chan, Honolulu, Hawaii  – 69-74–143
T21         Stratton Nolen, Austin, Texas  – 70-73–143
T21         Scottie Scheffler, Dallas, Texas  – 71-72–143
T21         Ryan Grider, Lewisville, Texas  – 71-72–143
T21         Daniel Hudson, Western Springs, Ill.  – 73-70–143
T21         Kade McBride, Queensland, Australia  – 73-70–143
T21         Cheng Jin, Singapore, China  – 76-67–143
T28         Austin Smotherman, Loomis, Calif.  – 69-75–144
T28         Clancy Waugh, North Palm Beach, Fla.  – 72-72–144
T28         Colby Harwell, Robinson, Texas  – 72-72–144
T28         Anthony Marchesani, Oklahoma City, Okla.  – 72-72–144
T28         Bryson Dechambeau, Clovis, Calif.  – 73-71–144
T28         Matt Van Zandt, Houston, Texas  – 73-71–144
T28         Will Griffin, Lufkin, Texas  – 73-71–144
T28         Ian Vandersee, West Des Moines, Iowa  – 75-69–144
T36         Matthew Perrine, Austin, Texas  – 69-76–145
T36         Grady Brame Jr, Hammond, La.  – 70-75–145
T36         Kolton Crawford, Mansfield, Texas  – 71-74–145
T36         Xander Schauffele, San Diego, Calif.  – 71-74–145
T36         Jeff Swegle, West Des Moines, Iowa  – 72-73–145
T36         Aaron Cockerill, Manitoba, Canada  – 76-69–145
T42         Beau Titsworth, Wexford, Pa.  – 71-75–146
T42         Luke Vivolo, Carmel, Calif.  – 71-75–146
T42         Gregory Yates, Mansfield, Texas  – 73-73–146
T42         Kyle Pilgrim, Colleyville, Texas  – 73-73–146
T42         Christian Cichan, Charlotte, N.C.  – 74-72–146
T42         Sam Daley, Ames, Iowa  – 74-72–146
T42         Cameron Jones, Auckland, New Zealan  – 74-72–146
T42         Aaron Hickman, Tyler, Texas  – 74-72–146
T42         Vincent Martino, Southlake , Texas  – 75-71–146
T42         Miguel Delgado, Novato, Calif.  – 77-69–146
T52         Andrew Buchanan, Los Altos Hills, Calif.  – 70-77–147
T52         Sam Stevens, Wichita, Kan.  – 71-76–147
T52         Kevin Schultz, Tulsa, Okla.  – 72-75–147
T52         David Fink, Kailua, Hawaii  – 72-75–147
T52         Jeremy Sanders, Chatsworth, Calif.  – 73-74–147
T52         Josh Swanson, Bee Cave, Texas  – 74-73–147
T52         Andrew Wyatt, Midland, Texas  – 74-73–147
T52         Tayler Termeer, Austin, Texas  – 74-73–147
T52         Chad Merzbacher, Eden Prairie, Minn.  – 74-73–147
T52         Stuart Smallwood, Paris, Texas  – 74-73–147
T52         Gavin Green, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia  – 75-72–147
T52         Dylan Meyer, Evansville, Ind.  – 75-72–147
T52         Alec Heinen, Edmond, Okla.  – 75-72–147
T52         Andrew Lister, Katy, Texas  – 76-71–147
T52         Anthony Maccaglia, Tampa, Fla.  – 77-70–147
T52         Myles Lewis, New Orleans, La.  – 77-70–147
T68         Cy Moritz, Owensville, Mo.  – 73-75–148
—— Did Not Make Cut ——
T68         Zach Wright, Phoenix, Ariz.  – 74-74–148
T68         Sam Humphreys, Edmond, Okla.  – 74-74–148
T68         Logan McCracken, Oklahoma City, Okla.  – 75-73–148
T68         Wesley McClain, Diboll, Texas  – 75-73–148
T68         Ryan Han, Hollister, Calif.  – 76-72–148
T74         Sam Saunders, Albuquerque, N.M.  – 70-79–149
T74         Sarosh Adi, Frisco, Texas  – 70-79–149
T74         Grant Houser, Holly Springs, N.C.  – 71-78–149
T74         Landon Lyons, Baton Rouge, La.  – 73-76–149
T74         Bryon Shumate, Fort Smith, Ark.  – 73-76–149
T74         Eric Ricard, Shreveport, La.  – 73-76–149
T74         Joseph Abella, Plano, Texas  – 73-76–149
T74         Hudson Carpenter, Stillwater, Minn.  – 76-73–149
T74         Patrick Grimes, Palo Alto, Calif.  – 77-72–149
T74         Rylee Reinertson, Gibbon, Neb.  – 77-72–149
T84         Gene Elliott, West Des Moines, Iowa  – 73-77–150
T84         Tyler Thomas, San Marcos, Texas  – 73-77–150
T84         Hayden Wood, Edmond, Okla.  – 74-76–150
T84         Santiago Gavino, Austin, Texas  – 74-76–150
T84         Connor Black, Humble, Texas  – 76-74–150
T84         Zach Cabra, McKinney, Texas  – 76-74–150
T84         Chase Hanna, Leawood, Kan.  – 76-74–150
T84         David Lee, Houston, Texas  – 76-74–150
T92         Shotaro Ban, San Jose, Calif.  – 73-78–151
T92         Connor Peck, Ankeny, Iowa  – 73-78–151
T92         Paul Smith, Turlock, Calif.  – 74-77–151
T92         Kenneth Fadke, Hobbs, N.M.  – 76-75–151
T92         Sean Walsh, Keller, Texas  – 76-75–151
T92         Nick Heinen, Edmond, Okla.  – 76-75–151
T92         Kevin Dehuff, Coto De Caza, Calif.  – 76-75–151
T92         Eric Hallberg, Parker, Colo.  – 77-74–151
T92         Colton Staggs, Tulsa, Okla.  – 77-74–151
T92         Andrew Presley, Fort Worth, Texas  – 78-73–151
T92         Scott Verplank, Edmond, Okla.  – 78-73–151
T103       Sam Johnston, Edmond, Okla.  – 73-79–152
T103       Tyler Klava, Pace , Fla.  – 76-76–152
T103       Hayden Beard, Mt Maunganui, New Zealan  – 76-76–152
T103       Brian Jung, Corvallis, Ore.  – 76-76–152
T103       Calvin Pearson, Wichita, Kan.  – 77-75–152
T103       John Sawin, San Francisco, Calif.  – 77-75–152
T103       Tyson Reeder, Edmond, Okla.  – 77-75–152
T103       Griffin Pierce, Edmond, Okla.  – 78-74–152
T103       Conrad Walcher, Oklahoma City, Okla.  – 78-74–152
T112       Frederick Wedel, Roseville, Calif.  – 74-79–153
T112       Andrew Morgan, Long Beach, Calif.  – 74-79–153
T112       Jack Watson, Lincolnshire, Ill.  – 75-78–153
T112       Michael McGowan, Southern Pines, N.C.  – 78-75–153
T112       Jacob Bishop, Edmond, Okla.  – 78-75–153
T112       Dominic Kieffer, Byron, Minn.  – 80-73–153
T118       Andrew Cornella, Colorado Springs, Colo.  – 76-78–154
T118       Brax McCarthy, Fort Worth, Texas  – 76-78–154
T118       Chris Karlovich, Broken Arrow, Okla.  – 77-77–154
T121       Austin Eoff, Benton, Ark.  – 75-80–155
T121       Luke Toomey, Melville, New Zealan  – 79-76–155
T121       John McClure, Austin, Texas  – 80-75–155
T121       Jack Smith, Knoxville, Tenn.  – 80-75–155
T125       Grant Bennett, Lewisville, Texas  – 74-82–156
T125       Andy Johnson, Tulsa, Okla.  – 77-79–156
T125       Drew Kirby, Baton Rouge, La.  – 78-78–156
T125       Jim Liu, Smithtown, N.Y.  – 79-77–156
T125       Peter Krsnich, Wichita, Kan.  – 79-77–156
T130       Preston Fleenor, Mission Hills, Kan.  – 75-82–157
T130       Brett Walker, Las Cruces, N.M.  – 77-80–157
T130       Jack Persons, San Francisco, Calif.  – 78-79–157
T130       Sean Romero, Texarkana, Ark.  – 79-78–157
T130       Gio Gandionco, Santa Clara, Calif.  – 80-77–157
T130       Marcus Jones, Argyle, Texas  – 80-77–157
T130       Blake Pugh, Southlake, Texas  – 80-77–157
137         Eamon Bradley, Hammond, La.  – 82-76–158
138         Jordan Rodgers, Salt Lake City, Utah  – 84-75–159
139         Lawrence Field, Tulsa, Okla.  – 77-83–160
140         Charles Valluzzo, Mt Pleasant, S.C.  – 84-78–162
141         Mark Mance, Whitefish, Mont.  – 87-78–165
142         Joe Parkinson, Alpine, Utah  – 71-DQ–DQ
143         Brent Brockermeyer, Los Angeles, Calif.  – 76-WD–WD

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