CAREFREE, Ariz. – Jeff New from Scottsdale carried some inside information into this week’s 2018 Trans-Miss Senior & Mid-Master Championship at Desert Forest Golf Club. That knowledge has propelled him into the lead of the Senior Division at even-par 144 through two rounds of play in the 54-hole event.

“I’ve had a strategy to play the course very conservatively,” said New, who made seven birdies Wednesday on his way to a 2-over 73. “I’m only hitting two or three drivers per round, trying to keep it in the fairway. I’ve got a good friend who is a member here for many years, and he advised me if you have to hit less club off the tee, do that even if you have a longer shot into the green.”

The conservative approach is working for New, who said he’s only launched one tee ball into the desert through 36 holes. Keeping the ball in play is one of the keys to success at Desert Forest, the 1962 Robert “Red” Lawrence design that lacks water hazards, fairway bunkers or out of bounds. What it does have, however, is penal desert landscape on both sides of every hole that can create feelings of anxiety on the tee boxes.