10 Stories to Watch in 2019

What will 2019 bring to the Colorado golf world?


By Jon Rizzi

How will Jennifer Kupcho perform on the LPGA Tour?

In 2018, the Westminster native and Wake Forest University golfer became the first Colorado woman to win the NCAA Division I individual title. She spent the summer representing the U.S. internationally on the winning Curtis Cup, Palmer Cup and Women’s World Amateur Championship teams, and finished the year by firing a 17-under 559 in the eight-round final stage of LPGA Q-School—27 strokes clear of the “cut line” to qualify. The world’s No.1-ranked player for most of 2018 (for which she earned the prestigious Mark McCormack Medal), Kupcho will defer getting her card until after this year’s NCAAs. She gave a preview of her pro performances in July’s LPGA Marathon Classic, where she finished 16th. Other players with Colorado ties earning their LPGA cards were Denver’s Becca Huffer (winner of the 2013 CoBank Colorado Women’s Open) and University of Colorado golfer Robyn Choi of Australia.

New Topgolf Opening.

The success of Topgolf in Centennial has prompted the opening of a second location in Thornton. Topgolf’s second site, at I-25 and 60th Ave is scheduled to open in late 2019. A replica of its Centennial facility, it will have three tiers of climate-controlled hitting bays, a restaurant, three bars and similar entertainment and private party options.

How will Coloradans Wyndham Clark and Jim Knous fare on the PGA Tour?

Wyndham Clark

Both players qualified in 2018 via the Web.com Tour, with Knous scoring a T-10 in his first event, October’s Safeway Open, and Clark already making three cuts during the 2019 wraparound season. Clark, a Colorado state champion while at Valor Christian, won the 2017 Pac-12 Conference championship as a member of the University of Oregon Ducks at Boulder Country Club. A Basalt native, Knous competed collegiately for the Colorado School of Mines and has twice won the San Juan Open in Farmington, NM.

Can Kim Eaton set the all-time record for CGA/CWGA women’s victories?

After tying fellow Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Carol Flenniken’s record of 25 CGA/CWGA women’s titles in last May’s Mashie tournament, Eaton came oh-so-close at the CGA Women’s Senior Stroke Play at Greeley Country Club, but lost in a playoff to Kristine Franklin.

What difference will the Rules changes make on courses around Colorado?

Designed to be easier to understand and apply, the most sweeping changes in the Rules of Golf in more than six decades should also improve pace of play. For a quick primer, click here.

Kuchar at Green Valley Ranch
Matt Kuchar with kids at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club

Which golf stars will the CoBank Colorado Open Championships and The First Tee of Green Valley Ranch bring to Colorado this year?

Over the last three years, Hale Irwin, Ryan Palmer, Paula Creamer, David Duval, Lexi Thompson, Mark O’Meara and Matt Kuchar have inspired junior golfers with talks and exhibitions. Last August World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam paid the most recent visit as part of a novel PEAK Performers event wherein nine kids from First Tee programs around the country each got to play six holes with Sorenstam as part of a four-day, all-expenses-paid trip to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

Will Dillon Stewart “Cowboy Up”?

Dillon Stewart (Photograph by EJ Carr)

Winning two AGJA events, the Colorado High School 5A championship, USGA Junior Amateur Qualifier and the Junior America’s Cup, the Fort Collins native easily earned 2018 Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado’s Player of the Year honors. He also signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the No.1 college program in the country—the current defending national champion Oklahoma State University Cowboys—and graduated early from Fossil Ridge High to focus on competing in events that will groom him for the next level.

Who will win the 2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship?

Colorado Golf Club in Parker will host the 39th Edition of the prestigious event September 13-19, with CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora as supporting Stroke-Play Co-Host Venue. Sectional Qualifying events take place around the country August 7-21, with the Omni Interlocken (Aug. 13) and The Inverness (Aug. 19) hosting the Colorado qualifiers. Local favorites include previous qualifiers Chris Thayer, Steve Irwin, Matt Evelyn, Michael Harrington and Brian Dorfman. On a related note: within the next month or two, the USGA is expected to announce another national championship coming to Colorado in 2020.

Who will win the inaugural TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes?

Colorado’s newest course, TPC Colorado in Berthoud, will host the $600,000 Web.com Tour championship July 8-14. The 156-player field will compete on an Art Schaupeter-designed course that stretches to nearly 8,000 yards. More than 20 years have passed since the last Web.com event (then known as the Nike Tour) took place in Colorado. Stewart Cink (1996) and Pat Bates (1997) won the Nike Colorado Classic at Riverdale Dunes Golf Course in Brighton.

TPC Colorado Hole 10
Tall, sod-faced bunkers lurk on the 10th at TPC Colorado

What effect will the new dates for the CoBank Colorado Women’s Open have?

With a $150,000 purse, the CoBank Colorado Women’s Open is the richest state women’s open in the country. To make the field even more competitive, the Colorado Open Golf Foundation has moved the three-day championship from late August to May 29-31. The change will avoid overlap with events on the LPGA and Symetra Tours and can attract college players right after they play in the NCAAs. The result will be a much deeper and stronger field.” The CoBank Colorado Senior Open, which previously took place in May, moves to August 28-30. All CoBank Colorado Championships take place at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club.

Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.

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