HOUSTON—Four former champions and a host of decorated amateurs highlight the field for the 17th Trans-Mississippi Senior Amateur Championship, set for May 24-26 at Houston Country Club.
Defending champion Jeff New from Scottsdale, Ariz., returns after winning his first Trans-Miss title, a three-shot victory at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas. New previously lived in the Houston area for 38 years before he moved to Arizona in 2013. A veteran of more than 200 amateur events in the Lone Star State, New said his Trans-Miss Senior victory held extra meaning for him since it happened at Brook Hollow.
“It’s a thrill to win a Trans-Miss event, and to do it here at one of my favorite courses makes it even better,” New said last May following his victory.
The Trans-Miss Senior Championship will feature three divisions, each of which will compete from separate yardages. The Senior Division (aged 55 years and older) and Super Seniors (65 and older) play 54 holes of stroke play. The Legends Division (70 and older) plays 36 holes of stroke play. None of the divisions feature a cut.
Founded in 1908, Houston Country Club was originally designed by Tom McNamara at its original location southeast of downtown Houston. In 1956-57, the club re-opened at its current location in Houston’s Tanglewood area. In 1956, Robert Trent Jones designed the 7,009-yard, par-72 layout, which lies adjacent to the Buffalo Bayou.
A longtime Trans-Miss Golf Association Member Club, Houston Country Club previously hosted the 1982 Four-Ball Championship, won by John Jennings, Jr. and John Paul Cain. The 17th Trans-Miss Senior will be the third championship contested in the Houston area in the association’s 115-year history. Houston Country Club is perhaps best known for the popular made-for-TV series “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf” match between Ben Hogan and Sam Snead in 1964. It was the final head-to-head match between the two titans of the game, and a then-record 3.47 million viewers tuned in to see Hogan defeat Snead by three shots.
In 1913, Houston Country Club hosted an exhibition match between the great Harry Vardon, winner of seven Open Championships and one U.S. Open, and two-time major champion Ted Ray. Nine years later, Francis Ouimet won the Houston Invitational at Houston Country Club. Ouimet, of course, as an amateur defeated Vardon and Ray at the historic 1913 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
In addition, Houston Country Club has played host to six Texas Amateur Championships. The club’s greens and bunkers in 1988 were modified by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. The eighth hole also recently was designed by Crenshaw and Coore upon completion of a bayou erosion project.
Ninety-six players from 15 U.S. states will comprise the field this year, including nine players who finished in the top 15 last year at Brook Hollow. Former Trans-Miss champions in the field include four-time winner Chris Maletis from Portland, Ore., who last year won the Super Senior Division by eight shots. Corliss “Corky” Nelson from Dallas, who won the Trans-Miss Senior in 2013, will be present at Houston Country Club, as will Larry Walsh from Mountain City, Texas, winner of the 2013 Super Senior Division.
Other notable competitors in the field include Houston’s Bob Kearney, a 16-time USGA Championship participant and the 2015 Golfweek Senior Amateur of the Year; Eddie Lyons from Shreveport, La., a five-time Trans-Miss Four-Ball Champion; and Jim Martin from Dallas, the 2015 Trans-Miss Senior (Legends Division) Champion and 1987 Trans-Miss Four-Ball Champion.
About the Trans-Mississippi Golf Association
The Trans-Mississippi Golf Association is one of the oldest and most prestigious golf organizations in the United States. Established in 1901, the Trans-Mississippi is composed of over 200 member clubs located throughout the country. The Association is governed by a board of independent directors and is headquartered in Dallas, TX.
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