Coloradans Ott and Kupcho Earn Big Out-of-State Wins

A.J. Ott and Steven Kupcho

A.J. Ott and Steven Kupcho score big in Arkansas and South Dakota.

A pair of Colorado Golf Association Les Fowler Players of the Year scored some big out-of-state wins over the weekend.

The 2018 award winner, A.J. Ott of Fort Collins, captured the Southern Amateur Championship at Chenal Country Club in Little Rock, Ark., while Westminster’s Steven Kupcho, who took home the POY award in 2012, won the Western Corporate Image Pro-Am at Moccasin Creek Country Club in Aberdeen, S.D.

A.J. is A-OK

A.J. Ott won the 2019 Southern Amateur in a two-man playoff.
A.J. Ott won the 2019 Southern Amateur in a two-man playoff. (Photo courtesy Southern Amateur)

Unaccustomed to playing in the humid conditions at sea level, Ott opened with respectable rounds of 70 and 73 before blistering the the final 36 holes in 64 and 67.

The Colorado State University senior finished at 10-under par, but he had to wait for the final three groups to finish before knowing how far his score would take him.

“I thought 11-under would be the number when I finished, but I lucked out,” he said. “So I kind of lucked out.”

His 10-under put him in a tie with Washington’s Noah Woolsey, who’d started the day two shots ahead of Ott.

The playoff lasted two holes, with Ott birdieing the second for the win.

Ott’s only other amateur start this summer was at the Southwestern Amateur at Desert Mountain, where he finished runner-up. During the college season, Ott finished T5 at the Mountain West Championship and in the top 10 at the Western Intercollegiate. His 296 position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking should go up as a result.

Ott says he competed in Southern Amateur to get accustomed to playing on different grasses, like Zoysia, and conditions uncommon to Colorado.

The 113th Southern Amateur featured an elite field of 159 players from 28 states and 13 nations. By winning the event, Ott joined the ranks of such previous champions as Bobby Jones, Hubert Green, Lanny Wadkins, Ben Crenshaw, Justin Leonard, Bob Tway and Webb Simpson.

Kupcho Cashes In

Steven Kupcho holds his first winner's check in South Dakota.
Steven Kupcho holds his first winner’s check in South Dakota. (Photo from Facebook)

Speaking to youngsters at Green Valley Ranch last month, Augusta National Amateur champion Jennifer Kupcho said her role model growing up was her older brother Steven, an aspiring professional who’d qualified and made the cut that weekend at a Korn Ferry Tour event in Utah.

He’s now achieved another accomplishment for his sister, an LPGA rookie, to admire.

The 26-year-old shot a blistering 66 during the final round Sunday and to close the tournament at 13-under par, three shots clear of the 48-player field.

“I saw a 66 and thought, ‘66? That’s too low,’” he told the Aberdeen News.  “I don’t want to sign for a low scorecard. I didn’t realize how well I was playing.”

Kupcho went 68-69-66 over the three-day tournament.

The Western Corporate Image Pro-Am marked his first professional victory—something his sister has yet to achieve.

“I’m the first person in the family to win as a professional, so that’s pretty cool,” Kupcho is quoted as saying. “I’ve got that dig on my sister…until she wins.”

In addition to both being CGA Players of the Year, Kupcho and Ott both have Ed Oldham of The Ranch Country Club in Westminster as an instructor. Among Oldham’s other students are 2009 CGA Player of the Year Steve Ziegler and Jennifer Kupcho.

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