INDEPENDENCE, Minn. – Leo Oyo of Tokyo, Japan carded an opening round 6-under-par 65 on a drizzly day at Windsong Farm Golf Club. Despite fitful rain showers throughout Tuesday, Oyo took advantage of the soft conditions and leads 37-year-old mid-am Derek Busby by one stroke headed into Wednesday.
Round 1 was suspended due to darkness at 8:42 p.m. One group remains on the back nine, and play will resume at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Round 2 will begin at 8:00 a.m.
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Round 1 was delayed in the morning due to inclement weather in the area. Tee times were pushed back one hour in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon, and the 144 players in the field took on wet conditions at John Fought and Tom Lehman’s venerable 2003 design that weaves in and around thick heather grass-covered hills.
Oyo, a 22-year-old senior at Oklahoma State University, began his day on the back nine at Windsong Farm. He quickly got into red figures with consecutive birdies on the par-5 12th and par-4 13th. He dropped a shot on the par-4 15th, but closed out his opening nine with a birdie on the par-4 17th and an eagle on the difficult par-5 18th to turn at 4-under par.
Despite a bogey on the par-4 first, Oyo remained patient. He carded four birdies over his closing eight holes including three out of his last four. Coming into this year’s Trans-Mississippi Amateur, Oyo had found something in his game. He recently finished solo fourth at the Sunnehanna Amateur in June. He carded rounds of 74-70-66-64, and carried the momentum from his final two rounds in Pennsylvania to the upper mid-west.
“My game is getting to a really comfortable spot for me,” Oyo said. “I am coming off a really difficult year in school, but the whole season was just a huge learning experience. After the first round at Sunnehanna, it occurred to me what I needed to do to get back into my comfort zone. I played better and better as that week went on and I know what I have to do to play well.”
Oyo is the 118th ranked amateur in the world (World Amateur Golf Rankings). Among his decorated career is a win in 2020 at The Prestige presented by Charles Schwab at PGA West. He’ll look to continue his great play throughout the week at Windsong Farm.
“Today (Tuesday) showed that I’m doing something right, and this last year that’s what I was trying to find,” Oyo said. “I feel like I’ve found it, and I just got to keep it going.”
Busby, the highest ranked mid-amateur in the field, sits one stroke back of Oyo after firing a bogey-free 5-under-par 66.
“It’s a phenomenal test,” said Busby of Ruston La. “This is my first time here, and holes 15, 16, 17 and 18 are a great stretch of golf. My caddie, who caddies full time at Augusta National, said this place can host any championship in the game.”
Busby had nothing but great things to say about Windsong Farm and his game following his round Tuesday. He carded five birdies including three consecutive to begin his closing nine on the par-3 10th, par-4 11th and par-5 12th. The former standout at Louisiana Tech is no stranger to elite amateur golf and came into this week in good form.
“This is my third event in five weeks, which is probably the most competitive golf I’ve played in 10 years,” Busby said. “It just helped getting your playing feels, your sight lines and making some adjustments. I’m tournament ready this year.”
Among Busby’s amateur career wins are the 2017 Louisiana Amateur, 2019 Louisiana Mid-Amateur and 2020 Gasparilla Invitational. He recently finished solo fifth at the George C Thomas Invitational – Mid-Amateur in Los Angeles.
“My 10-year-old decided not to play a lot of baseball this summer for the first time in years,” Busby said. “So as a family, we made a commitment that I wanted to get ready for the U.S. Amateur and the only way to do that is play in events. I came into this week hitting it well, and on this golf course you really got to strike it well which favors me.”
Busby, with his sights on national championships later this summer, is among a star-studded field full of great collegiate players. Connor Mckinney, 19, and Sam Jean, 21, are tied third after carding opening rounds of 4-under-par 67.
Mckinney of Perth, Australia carded birdies on the par-4 second, par-3 fourth, par-4 eighth and par-3 10th en route to a bogey-free round. The teenager came in as one of the highest ranked players in the field and is currently 161st in the WAGR.
“We had quite a bit of rain this morning which softened it up and made it more gettable,” Mckinney said. “I hit some good shots out there and got a few putts to drop.”
Jean, a junior at the University of Cincinnati, carded seven birdies in round one. Following a bogey on the par-4 11th (his second hole of the day), he birdied five of his next seven holes to post 4-under 32 on his opening loop. He carried the momentum onto the front side at Windsong Farm and birdied the par-4 first and par-4 second for five consecutive red numbers.
Jean dropped a few shots coming home and will begin the second round just one shot behind Busby. Cooper Davis of Overland Park, Kan is also tied third at 4-under par. He is through 16 holes and will finish his opening round Wednesday morning ahead of his Round 2 tee time.
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 1 STATS: The stroke average for the first round was 73.59 (minus three competitors). Twenty-eight players broke par with another nine sitting at even-par 71. The par-4 15th hole that measures 457 yards ranked toughest at 4.52. It yielded five birdies and 15 double bogeys or worse.
The par-5 12th hole plays in the opposite direction – directly downwind – and was the easiest hole on the day at 4.76. There were 50 birdies and four 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.
13760 Noel Road, Suite #327
Dallas, TX 75240