Derek Hitchner comes back from far to win Trans Miss Amateur
Derek Hitchner grew up on Friday. Hitchner fell nine strokes behind before birdieing the second extra hole to win the 117th edition of the Trans-Mississippi Golf Association amateur championship at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence Minnesota. Hitchner, who lives in Minneapolis, finished on a 4 under par 67 to finish the 72 holes at 7 under par 277. Derek Busby (Ruston, LA), who had a six-stroke lead at the start of the game on Friday, also finished at 277 after closing with a 5-over-par of 76.
The two players returned to the 18th hole and played it for the third time before Hitchner ended the festivities with a six-foot-long birdie putt.
Kaiwen Liu (San Diego / China), who was partly in the lead on Friday, missed a stroke after being left alone with a final 71 in third place at 6-under par 277.
Michael Sanders (Davidson, NC), Jansen Preston (Lexington, Kentucky) and Ryan Eshleman (Vestavia Hills, Ala.) All finished with 280 after 68, 70 and 71 rounds. Viraj Garewal (Raleigh, NC), Herman Sekne (Oslo, Norway), Jackson Lake (Clovis, California), Enrique Dimayuga (London, England), and Cal McCoy (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) all scored 281.
Adam Brady (Perth, Australia), who was tied for second place with Liu at the beginning of the day and was in the bottom group with Liu and Busby, finished the race with a 78 and finished 19th with 285th. Hitchner, who recently got his third year at Pepperdine (he was not in the line-up for the NCAA final) had barely thought of winning the tournament at the start of the day.
. @ ddhitchner started the final round 9 strokes behind the 54-hole leader. After a final round with 4 under 67, the senior @PeppGolf won the 117th #TransMissAm on the second sudden death playoff hole!
📒 Summary: https://t.co/w5toZCRMxN
📈 Leaderboard: https://t.co/tvdEJQkLHB pic.twitter.com/uWn7vSKhf0
– Trans-Mississippi Golf Association (@TransMissGolf) July 9, 2021 “I know anything is possible in golf,” he said, “but thinking that I was actually competing seemed pretty far-fetched. I was just trying to go out there and do what I wanted to do. I think I was just trying to keep it all out there. I really had nothing to lose. I made the cut, I played a great course and I just tried to enjoy it. “
In the penultimate group, Hitchner played his first 10 holes in a straight par. But then his putter heated up. He recorded five birdies over a six-hole stretch, converting birdie chances on the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, and finally on the 16th par-3 to increase to eight under par for the tournament.
“So I thought I was going to probably finish second,” said Hitchner.
But in fact, at that point, he had a head start. 37-year-old Busby, who dominated much of the week, fought his way out of the gate. He played his opening nine in 4 over par 39 and added a fifth bogey along the way.
Busby’s troubles re-questioned Liu, a recent Cal-Berkeley graduate; he played his opening nine on a straight par, then Birdiete the 13th par-4 and found himself in the lead with Hitchner and Busby, the latter bogeying the 14th par-4.
Hitchner bogeyed the 17th par-4 to open the door for Busby through the playoff, but Hitchner believed he had the swing by that point.
“I think I kind of approached it like everything was going to reset (on the first playoff hole),” he said. “It certainly didn’t matter what we did. But I definitely felt good playing. “I can’t really tell how (Busby) felt. But speaking for myself, I felt confident. I felt like I could at least give myself a chance by doing the way I wanted to. ”
ABOUT THE Trans Miss Championship
The Trans-Miss is one of the oldest and most traditional golf tournaments in the United States. For 106 years the championship was played in 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 tours. In 1987 the championship was changed to an age requirement for intermediate amateurs and a senior class 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 the best college and mid-am players while on a 72-hole stroke play format surrounded. Field sizes start from 144 players from Trans-Mississippi Golf Association member clubs (or players who receive a special invitation from the Championship Committee). After 36 holes it is cut to the low 54 and ties that play the last two rounds.
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