INDEPENDENCE, Minn. – Widely considered one of the best inland golf courses in America, Windsong Farm Golf Club will play host to the 117th Trans-Mississippi Amateur. Set for July 6-9, the historic amateur championship returns to the schedule after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are truly excited to be playing the Trans-Mississippi Amateur at Windsong Farm after last year’s cancellation,” Trans-Mississippi Golf Association Executive Director Rob Addington said. “We have a very strong field and look forward to crowning another great champion.”
Originally built in 2003, Windsong Farm has been recognized as one of the top modern golf courses in the nation. The award-winning layout was designed by renowned golf course architect John Fought and five-time PGA Tour winner Tom Lehman.
In 2015, Fought led a renovation of the par-71 championship course west of Minneapolis. With consultation from Lehman, he made improvements to every bunker, redesigned the par-5 12th hole, and added 14 new tee boxes as well as native grasses to help minimize irrigation. As part of the renovation, the course was also lengthened to nearly 7,600 yards from the back tees.
“The wide fairways and large undulating greens stretch over 240 acres,” Windsong Farm Director of Golf Matt Kleinbrook said. “It’s a second shot golf course and requires imagination on and around our green complexes.”
Kleinbrook added that the sight lines are generous off the tees. However, several areas with penalizing native grasses can gobble up errant drives. Nearly as important is finding the best angles into the green, which are turfed with A4 bentgrass.
Extremely undulated and typically on the larger side, the greens are kept around 12 on the Stimpmeter for member play. The sloped nature of the greens – combined with expected stiff winds – offer a taxing examination of players’ skills and patience.
“The greens are what set us apart,” Kleinbrook said. “It will give the players a good test and make for a great championship venue. The last five holes are not easy, and will challenge the field coming down the stretch.”
As the Trans-Mississippi Amateur continues to rotate to compelling venues each year, the championship’s reputation is on the rise. Since 2017, the Trans-Mississippi Amateur has received WAGR’s “A” ranking for strength of field each year.
Further validating the event’s ascension, the 116th Trans-Mississippi Amateur at Maridoe GC was dubbed 13th in the world and ninth in North America by the Scratch Player’s World Amateur Rankings. It is collections of strong players such as the one that will gather at Windsong Farm that drives these high marks.
“Our goal is to take the Trans-Mississippi Amateur to the best golf courses in the country in an effort to attract the absolute best amateur golfers,” Addington said. “The rankings our fields have received from industry experts in recent years validate our mission.”
This year, the 144-player field will feature 35 players ranked inside the top-500 in the WAGR. Among the notable players who will attempt to add their name to the Trans-Mississippi Amateur trophy is Houston native Walker Lee.
The recent graduate from Texas A&M University claimed collegiate wins at the 2020 Cabo Collegiate, 2018 Maridoe Intercollegiate and 2018 Aggie Invitational. He is currently ranked 130th in the world (highest ranked player in field) and looks to add to the list of Texan past champions, including notables Pierceson Coody, Will Zalatoris, Kelly Kraft and Ben Crenshaw.
Joining Lee at Windsong Farm are two highly touted teenagers competing in their first Trans-Mississippi Amateur. Alexander Yang is originally from Hong Kong and lives in Carlsbad, Calif. The 18-year-old standout will begin his collegiate career at Stanford University in August. He is a two-time AJGA Rolex All-American and won low amateur at the 2020 Hong Kong Open on the Asian Tour. Scotland-native Connor McKinney is also yet to turn 20. The 19-year-old lives in Currambine, Australia and recently finished tied for seventh at the Australian Men’s Amateur. He is ranked 170th in the world.
The highest ranked mid-amateur in this year’s field is Derek Busby of Choudrant, La. The 37-year-old is ranked 217th in the world and won the 2020 Gasparilla Invitational at Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club. John Bearrie of Marana, Ariz. is one of the oldest players in the field. The 52-year-old recently finished runner-up at the 2021 Trans-Mississippi Senior & Mid-Master Championship at Meadow Club. Bearrie lost on the second sudden-death playoff hole in the Mid-Master Division, and he’ll look to carry his great play into early July.
The University of Minnesota is less than 30 miles away from Windsong Farm, and the Golden Gopher men’s golf program will be well represented at this year’s championship. Five current students and three Minnesota alumni will look to claim the title in the shadows of TCF Bank Stadium.
The Gophers in the field include seniors Lincoln Johnson and Harry Plowman-Ollington, junior Connor Glynn, sophomore Ben Warian and freshman Eduardo Galdos. Thomas Longbella, who completed his collegiate career in May, and former teammates David Morgan (class of 2004) and Ben Greve (class of 2005) will also represent the Maroon and Gold.
The Trans-Mississippi Amateur was first hosted in 1901 at Kansas City Country Club and has a decorated history. Over the past century, the event has crowned many worthy champions including 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus in 1958 and 1959, two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw in 1972, U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau in 2013 and the fourth ranked player in the world Collin Morikawa in 2015.
The championship’s format calls for 72 holes of stroke play. The 144-player field will be cut to the low 54 scores (including ties) following the second round.
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.
16837 Addison Rd., Suite 100
Addison, TX 75001