Nick played in the 114th Trans-Mississippi Championship between the 10th and 13th July. The tournament was held at the Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas. The format was 72 holes of strokeplay – the starting field of 144 players will be reduced to 54 after the second round.
Unfortunately it wasn't Nick's week and he missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 76. The winner was Cameron Champ from California on 9 under.
Cameron Champ played in the US Open in June and along with Scottie Scheffler (another amateur playing in the Trans-Miss) and they were the only two amateurs to make the cut. Scottie Scheffler won the Low Amateur medal and finished in a tie for 27th.
In Nick's own words…..
I hit a lot of quality golf shots but overall I was inefficient and my putter was cold. I just couldn't get the momentum going and sloppy mistakes crept in. However, my attitude remained good throughout and I didn't give up. I continued to plug along with everything I had. It reminded me of something Jay Carter (my NZ coach) once told me – we always see everyone playing well on TV and think that's what professional golf is all about but in reality it is more about the days when you're not firing on all cylinders but you continue fighting with everything you have.
The Trans-Mississippi Amateur or Trans-Miss Amateur has been played annually since 1901. It is played at a different course each year – the courses are all located near or west of the Mississippi River. From 1987 to 2009, the field was limited to mid-amateurs (age 25 or greater). From its inception through to and including the 2009 event it was played in two parts, a 36 hole stroke play competition to determine a 64 player field for the match play competition. Beginning in 2010, it is a 54 hole stroke play tournament with no age restrictions on entry.
Past winners include Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw and Bryson DeChambeau who has turned pro in the last couple of years.
Prairie Dunes Country Club
Tom Watson described Prairie Dunes as "A little bit of Scotland in the land of Oz. Sunflowers instead of heather, oceans of grain instead of the sea. But, like Scotland, be prepared because the wind always blows." When they say Oz they are referring to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz when Dorothy is swept from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado.
It is unusual to find a links style course in the centre of the USA where there is no seaside.
Emerson Carey, founder of Carey Salt Company, was an avid golfer and had travelled the world with his family, playing top ranked courses in the early 1900s including Scotland in the 1920s. Carey and his four sons became a staple in the Hutchinson golf community, contributing to the development of several courses in the area. In 1935 the Carey family commissioned architectural genius Perry Maxwell (Southern Hills, Colonial Country Club, redesign of Pine Valley and Augusta National) to design a masterpiece. Thus, the idea of Prairie Dunes was born.
Maxwell's response to the 480 acre canvas for his masterpiece, "there are 118 holes here, all I have to do is eliminate 100".
Thus, construction began on Prairie Dunes. The course was molded from the Kansas land using 18 horses and mules, Fresno scrapers and wheelbarrows. The only mechanised equipment used were Model T and Model A Fords which were used to bring the workers to site. Greens and fairways came to life by teams dragging plows and scoops, while roots of native grass and weeds were removed by hand one wheelbarrow at a time. In true Kansas fashion, a tornado swept across the site, forcing men into a bunker for protection. Despite the elements, Prairie Dunes opened the first 9 holes on the 13th September 1937. Twenty years later in 1957, The Dunes opened the second 9 holes, designed by Perry Maxwell's son.
Prairie Dunes had held the Trans-Miss five times prior to 2017.