INDEPENDENCE, Minn. – On a day when the scoring average was 3-over par for the field, Derek Busby of Ruston, La. fired a 6-under-par 65 to compliment his opening 66 at Windsong Farm Golf Club. The 37-year-old mid-amateur leads the field by four strokes headed into the final 36 holes.
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Busby, the eighth oldest competitor in the 144-player field, began his second round on the difficult par-3 10th. It was playing directly into the wind, and his tee shot left him a pitch to a front hole location steps away from a false front. He clipped it up there to five feet and dripped in the par-putt to continue the momentum from Tuesday.
He birdied the par-4 11th, par-5 12th, par-4 13th and chipped in for birdie on the par-4 14th. Following four consecutive birdies through his opening five holes, Busby quickly held a four-stroke lead.
He continued his great play on his closing loop, and carded three more birdies en route to the lowest round of the day. Despite carding eight birdies on Wednesday, Busby said he didn’t feel as comfortable as he did in Round 1.
“I stayed in control of my emotions,” Busby said. “I got a great score out of today considering how uncomfortable I was over the ball. I got to give a lot of credit to my caddie, Hoop, he really kept me in there. We adjusted a little and had to do what we did to get it done.”
Busby went straight to the range following his second round to solve any doubt in his swing. He was going to iron out a few things he and his coach worked on a few weeks ago. That coach, is Butch Harmon.
“I hadn’t seen him (Harmon) in a year and a half,” Busby said. “But, he was nice enough to see me a few weeks ago before an event in Los Angeles. I was losing my levels off the ball and he fixed it 20 minutes.”
Busby finished 20th at the Maridoe Amateur Championship last week and said he was feeling confident with his game coming into the Trans-Mississippi Amateur. That confidence, despite an awkward day with his swing, led to a 65.
“Scoring and how comfortable you are over the ball are two different things,” Busby said. “It’s taken me a long time to understand that, but my speed with my putter has been great. I’ll go clean some things up this evening and get after it tomorrow.”
Busby, who had a short stint playing professionally after his collegiate career at Louisiana Tech, will tee it up on Thursday with Cal McCoy, 21, and Adam Brady, 18.
McCoy, a senior at the University of Denver, carded one of the few bogey-free rounds of the day. He turned at 1-under par and drained a 25-foot birdie on the par-3 10th. The momentum carried and McCoy made back-to-back birdies on the par-4 11th and par-5 12th. He added one more on the par-3 16th coming home, and will begin Round 3 four strokes behind Busby.
“I only missed two greens and they were in the first four holes,” said McCoy, who finished fifth at the Colorado Match Play Championship in June. “I’ve been working really hard, and my swing coach has been so helpful with me. We made a game to go play golf and not worry if it’s perfect or not, and it feels nice.”
Brady of Perth, Australia is tied second after carding a 4-under-par 67 on Wednesday. The 18-year-old began his second round like Busby. He also started on the par-3 10th and quickly got into red figures with birdies on the par-4 11th, par-5 12th and par-4 13th. The teenager carded four more birdies on his closing loop to total seven on the day.
“The greens on the course this morning were so pure,” Brady said. “If you’re hitting greens, everything was makeable. I started both nines well and holed some putts. I just putted really well all around.”
In June, Brady qualified for the U.S Junior Amateur at The Country Club of North Carolina. He fired a 67 at the University of Georgia Golf Club and punched his ticket into the national championship later this month. Despite not being able to play a whole lot of competitive golf this last year in Australia, Brady finished solo fifth at the Western Australia Amateur in March.
“I’ve been striking it well, and I finally put it all together today,” Brady said. “I have a good game plan, and if I keep hitting well things will all come together.”
Four players are tied fourth at 3-under-par 139, while four more are tied eighth at 2-under-par 140. The field was cut to the low 54 players in ties following Round 2. Fifty-six players posted 3-over-par 145 or better and will compete Thursday and Friday.
This is the first time Windsong Farm has played host to the Trans-Mississippi Amateur. Known as one of the best modern courses in the country, the championship layout was originally built in 2003 by renowned golf course architect John Fought and 5-time PGA Tour winner Tom Lehman.
Fought, a decorated golfer in his own right, claimed the 1977 Trans-Mississippi Amateur at Midland Country Club. Now hosting some of the best amateurs in the country, Windsong Farm will add to its young history. The club has played host to several elite amateur events including the University of Minnesota Gopher Invitational (2014-Present), Minnesota Amateur (2008) and Big 10 Championship (2010).
ROUND 2 STATS: The stroke average for the second round was 73.99. Nineteen players are in red figures for the championship with another three sitting at even-par 142. The par-4 14th hole that measures 470 yards ranked toughest at 4.45. It yielded nine birdies and nine double bogeys or worse.
The par-5 12th hole was the easiest hole for a second straight day at 4.76. There were 49 birdies and two eagles on the 12th hole.
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