Golfers young and old earn honors at season’s end.
It’s a trope but it’s true: Golf is the game of a lifetime. Players from six to 96 can bask in the afterglow of a well-struck shot, enjoy that distinctive kerplink of a putt dropping into the hole and, yes, agonize over a shank, yank, slice, lip-out or the dreaded snowman.
As the sun sets on another golf season, we see players of multiple generations rewarded for their love of the game.
At Denver Country Club on Sunday, junior boys and girls were tasting victory in the season-ending Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado (JGAC) Tour Championship.
Matthew Wilkinson of Centennial recovered from a 3-over 74 in Saturday’s opening round to card a 2-under 69 on Sunday to finish two shots clear of Andrew White and Hunter Swanson. For Wilkinson, a senior on the Arapahoe High School team that last week won the 5A state high school championship, this marked his third JGAC major victory. The future Colorado State player also won the 2020 Colorado Junior Match Play and 2021 Junior PGA Championship.
On the girls’ side, 14-year-old Hadley Ashton of Erie dominated the field. Putting together two rounds of 5-over par, the Erie High School freshman ended Sunday five shots ahead of Olivia Steen of Fort Collins and six clear of Kaylee Chen of Parker.
Fathers and Sons
Meanwhile, at Ironbridge Golf Club in Glenwood Springs, Robert Burke and his son Ryan Burke of Longmont won the CGA Parent-Child Championship in dramatic fashion.
Starting the day at 1-over par, five shots behind the leaders and in 11th place overall, the duo from The Fox Hill Club rallied to edge three teams by one stroke: Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Kent Moore and his son, Steve; Clark and Paul Edwards; and Sean and Gavin Crowley.
As the Burkes each celebrated their first CGA victories, the Crowleys received the Loel and Caleb Lierman Award for being the team with a player 18 or younger with the lowest 36-hole gross score (Gavin is 16). In 2008, Burkes won the inaugural award.
On the older end of the age spectrum, on October 4 at Columbine Country Club, the Colorado Senior Golfers’ Association—which dates to 1935 and ranks as one of the oldest continuously operating senior golf organizations in the nation—held its first Hall of Fame banquet.
The inaugural inductees included Herbert “Chip” Delap; Dr. R. Michael Haas; Winston West; Chuck Babb, whose brother, Tom, is in the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame; and John Gardner II, a 70-year member of Lakewood Country Club (and 41-year member of the CSGA) who is himself a Colorado Golf Hall of Fame inductee.
Inducted posthumously were Charles Bagnall, the founder of the organization; 27-year member Bob Tschirki; H. Roland Muhrer; and Dick Lyford, an influential 34-year member whose name graces the trophy given to the winner of the CSGA’s year-end tournament.
Lyford, a Denver Country Club member who died last year at the age of 89, carried a single-digit handicap into his late seventies and proudly proclaimed on his business cards that the CSGA offered “golfing opportunities for those between obsolescence and the obituary.”
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