Three Tied for 36-Hole Lead at 115th Trans-Miss Amateur
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Halfway through the 115th Trans-Mississippi Amateur Championship, three players are tied for the lead at Brookside Golf & Country Club. Justin Tereshko from Lexington, Ky., and Naples, Fla., residents Jake Marriott and Matt Hutchins share the top spot on the leader board at 9-under-par 135.
After a long day that saw some competitors play as many as 31 holes because of a weather-related suspension of play during Tuesday’s opening round, Tereshko, Marriott and Hutchins hold a one-shot lead over Middle Tennessee State junior Chip Thomas from Knoxville, Tenn. Thomas sits at 8-under 136 after recording consecutive 4-under 68s in the first two rounds.
Both Marriott and Hutchins had their first rounds interrupted by Tuesday’s weather suspension. They returned to Brookside early Wednesday morning to finish, then immediately turned around to tee off for the second round. It didn’t seem to bother them, however. They both shot 7-under 65s in their second rounds.
Marriott got around Brookside’s narrow corridors bogey-free with seven birdies. The 2017 Augusta State graduate got some help from his host this week; he’s staying with Brookside General Manager Matt Ruehling. They’ve known each other for years, as Ruehling was one of Marriott’s first golf instructors.
“Matt and I got to play an extra practice round this week, which was awesome to hear some local knowledge,” said Marriott, who is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business from the University of South Florida but plans to try his hand at the Web.com Tour’s Qualifying School later this summer. “He helped me out a good bit. It’s great to be with Matt this week.”
Hutchins, who played college golf at Chico State and UCLA, made eight birdies in the second round against a lone bogey. With 23 putts in the second round, he said his short game bailed him out time and again.
“I just putted really well today,” said Hutchins, who finished T21 at the 114th Trans-Miss Amateur last summer at Prairie Dunes Country Club. “I hit my wedges good, too. I didn’t hit my tee balls the best, but I scrambled around really well.”
Tereshko, a mid-amateur who got married less than two weeks ago, recorded a 3-under 69 on Wednesday. He said the going was much tougher for him than it was during his 6-under 66 in Tuesday’s first round.
“It was definitely a grind compared to yesterday,” said Tereshko, who left his job as head men’s golf coach at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., to move to his new bride’s hometown and is currently looking for a new coaching position. “I made some pretty good par saves today. I missed eight or fairways. Hacking it out of that thick rough up to the green was hard work.”
Thomas, alone in fourth place at 8-under 136, shot his second straight 68 on Wednesday. He said putting and course management have been the keys to his success.
“You kind of half to position your ball around here,” said Thomas, who has four top-10s so far in his college career. “It’s an old-fashioned course, so it’s really important not to short-side yourself. I feel like I’ve done a really good job of that, hitting to the fat part of the greens.”
Tied for fifth place at 7-under 137 are Texas incoming freshman Pierceson Coody from Plano, Texas, and LSU sophomore Trey Winstead from Baton Rouge, La. Coody followed his 6-under 66 in the first round with a 1-under 71 on Wednesday. Winstead shot 68 in the second round, thanks in large part to his hole-in-one on the 135-yard, par-3 16th hole.
Duke senior Alex Smalley also aced the 16th on Wednesday, and University of California-Davis sophomore Thomas Hutchison jarred his tee shot on the same hole in the opening round. Smalley is one of nine players tied for seventh place at 6-under 138. Hutchison is tied for 27th place at 3-under 141.
A total of 67 players made the 36-hole cut at even-par 144. At each Trans-Miss Amateur, the association recognizes the Low Mid-Amateur after 72 holes. Four mid-ams advanced to the weekend, led by tournament co-leader Tereshko.
Home to U.S. Open sectional qualifying for 13 of the past 15 years, Brookside was built in 1927 by Charles Lorms. Charming, yet penal, it’s a classic example of a championship parkland course. Tight fairways framed by mature hardwoods, 3-inch-high rough and firm, bentgrass greens that average about 4,600 square feet, Brookside puts a premium on accuracy from tee to green.
Eighteen-time major championship winner Jack Nicklaus, who as a young amateur won the first of his two Trans-Miss Amateur titles 60 years ago this month, grew up in this area and played Brookside several times as youth. In 1954, he won the Brookside Invitational Championship as a 14-year-old and recently said it was “one of my first adult wins.”
Four years later he won the Trans-Miss Amateur at Prairie Dunes. He backed that win up with the 1959 title at Woodhill Golf Club in Wayzata, Minn. Prior to the start of the 115th Trans-Miss Amateur, Nicklaus recorded a special message to the competitors, who viewed the exclusive video on the eve of the first round. To watch the video, click here.