May 21st 2015
DALLAS—Jeff New figures he played in almost 200 Texas Golf Association events during the 38 years he lived in Houston. He never won an individual TGA Championship. He still hasn’t, but you can’t convince New that his impressive three-shot victory at the 2015 Trans-Mississippi Senior Championship doesn’t feel like he broke through for the elusive victory he always wanted.
“The Trans-Miss is run by the TGA and we’re here playing at Brook Hollow, one of the absolute best courses in Texas,” said New, a 58-year-old retired investments manager who moved with his family to Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2013. “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.”
Steady all week, New held a two-shot lead headed into Thursday’s final round, but he and the rest of the field had to wait a little longer than anticipated before striking a shot. After a two-hour weather delay for storms and lightning in the area, the Senior (ages 55 and older) and Super Senior (ages 65 and older) Division leaders teed off just before noon. Temperatures that started in the mid-50s felt chillier with the accompanying 10 mph winds. The mercury, however, eventually rose to the low 60s in the mid-afternoon and presented much more agreeable playing conditions.
As for the challenge at hand, A.W. Tillinghast’s timeless and thought-provoking design might have been softened a tad with the nearly 3 inches of rain Brook Hollow Golf Club absorbed in the previous seven days, but the 95-year-old parkland course perched six miles from downtown Dallas still had plenty of bite. Only one player broke par Thursday: Chris Maletis, who was crowned champion of the Super Senior Division.
New used a pair of birdies in the middle of his round to steady himself after two early bogeys. After a bogey and double-bogey on the 11th and 12th holes, New said he dug deep. He finished strong to post a final round 74 and finished at 6-over 219 for the championship. Bryan Norton from Mission Hills, Kan., took second place at 9-over 222. Houston’s Bob Kearney placed third at 10-over 223.
“I parred the final six holes and hit every green coming in,” New said. “I really felt good about that.”
Maletis, too, was feeling more than fine after his Super Senior Division victory. The 66-year-old from Portland made five birdies to shoot 1-under 70 in the final round. His 54-hole score of 8-over 221 was seven shots better than Frank Brame from Alexandria, La., who finished second at 15-over 228. Denny Alexander from Fort Worth took third at 16-over 229.
“A lot of guys have given me crap—rightfully so—about playing in this (age) division,” Maletis said. “But your age is your age, and I promise you I feel every year. Plus I wanted to try for a victory in this category.”
This was the second Trans-Miss Senior win for Maletis at Brook Hollow. He also won the 2011 Trans-Miss Senior when the format was match play; Maletis defeated Robert Polk from Parker, Colo., 2 and 1, the finals.
“I rolled the ball well today,” Maletis said. “And you have to on this course.”
Jim Martin from Dallas won the 36-hole Legends Division championship Wednesday. The former Trans-Miss Four-Ball winner (1987) shot rounds of 81-73 to post 12-over 154, which was good for a nine-shot victory in the division for players aged 70 and older.
“This is absolutely thrilling,” Martin said. “I’ve finished fourth, third and fifth in this event the last three years. To win this is pretty outstanding for me.”
The Trans-Miss Golf Association extends its most sincere gratitude to Brook Hollow Golf Club, its staff and our volunteers for their hospitality and generosity. The next event on the TMGA schedule is the 112th Trans-Miss Championship, July 6-9 at Flint Hills National in Andover, Kan.
Please visit trans-miss.org
for more information.