Wil finds a way to the winner’s circle for first time since 2005.
By Jon Rizzi
In 2005, the first time Wil Collins won the Inspirato Colorado Open, he won by six strokes and earned $23,000 and a berth in that August’s edition of The International, the PGA TOUR event then held at Castle Pines Golf Club. He would finish T57, but by making the cut, the 26-year-old South Dakota native earned another $11,200.
By winning his second Inspirato Colorado Open on Sunday, Collins pocketed $100,000. He not only more than quadrupled his payday from 17 years ago, but he exceeded by $4,231 his total career earnings on the PGA TOUR.
This victory, however, won’t springboard him into competing professionally on a regular basis. Currently living in Albuquerque, where he graduated in 2002 from the University of New Mexico, the 43-year-old now brokers mortgages to support his wife and children. The event at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club marked only his third competition of the year.
And the broker won it in dramatic fashion. He’d gone into the final round tied at 17-under with former University of Southern California star Rico Hoey of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and one shot ahead of amateur Connor Jones of CSU, 2013 champion Zahkai Brown of Arvada and professional Colin Monagle of Florida.
On Sunday, after dropping two strokes to Hoey in the first four holes, Collins birdied seven of the next 11. After a costly bogey by Hoey on the par-3 17, Collins found himself by three heading into the par-5 18th. Hoey, however put the pressure on with an eagle opportunity that just low-sided the hole. He settled for birdie, allowing Collins to lag his par putt to within inches of the cup for a one-shot victory with a 23-under 261.
The 17-year gap between Colorado Open victories—coincidentally the same number of years separating Collins and Hoey—is second only to the 21 years separating Jonathan Kaye’s 1996 and 2017 wins.
Hoey took home $20,000 for his runner-up finish, while CSU products Brown and Jones tied for third, each carding final rounds of 3-under 68. Brown earned $11,500, while Jones captured the trophy for low amateur. Monagle would finish fifth at 18-under, with 2010 Les Fowler Player of the Year Gunner Wiebe and previous Inspirato Colorado Open champions Drew Love and Sam Saunders tied for sixth at 17-under.
By finishing 12 shots ahead of the next closest amateur (Griffin Barela of Lakewood and the University of Wisconsin), Jones continued a stellar year in which the Westminster native won the Mountain West Conference individual championship and, earlier this month, forced a playoff in the prestigious Trans-Mississippi Amateur Championship at Denver Country Club.
A couple of early bogeys (holes 2 and 5) hurt Jones, who bounced back with five birdies over the next 13 holes. But Collins’ dominance prevented the CSU senior from joining Gary Longfellow and Brian Guetz as the only amateurs in the event’s 58-year history to win the event outright.
For complete results, click here.
The Inspirato Colorado Senior Open—third and final Inspirato Colorado Open of the season—will take place Wed, Aug. 24 – Fri, Aug. 26 at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club.
Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine 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.