A look back at one amazing year.
As the last putt prepares to drop on 2014, here’s a look at a few reasons the year in Colorado golf was memorable.
1. The BMW Championship. Having the PGA TOUR back in Colorado for the first time in eight years proved Denver should host an annual stop on the TOUR. The event ranked as one of the TOUR’s top attended tournaments in 2014, attracting more than 125,000 spectators to Cherry Hills Country Club. The Tour recognized as its “Tournament of the Year,” and also honored it with “Best On-Site Staging” and “Best Advertising Campaign/Promotional Idea” awards. What's more, the event generated a record $3.5 million contribution to the event’s sole charity, the Evans Scholars Foundation. Big kudos to General Chairman George Solich, Cherry Hills Country Club, the Western Golf Association and tournament winner Billy Horschel.
2. Jennifer Kupcho. The Jefferson Academy senior enjoyed one of the most dominating golf seasons in state history. At the age of 17, she won the High School Class 4A state title, Colorado Women’s Junior Stroke Play Championship, Colorado Women’s Match Play Championship and Colorado Junior Golf Association Tournament of Champions. She also shot an opening-round 66 to lead the HealthONE Colorado Women’s Open before finishing second overall and winning low-amateur honors. No surprise that she won of the Colorado Women’s Golf Association’s 2014 Player of the Year and Junior Player of the Year awards.
3. Kent Moore. Forty-one years after winning his first Colorado Golf Association tournament at the 1973 State Junior Match Play Championship, the 59-year-old Moore won last September’s Senior Stroke Play. The win gave him a victory in each of the last five decades—and cemented his Hall of Fame legacy. Moore also won the 1986 CGA Stroke Play, 1989 CGA Match Play, 1995 CGA Mid-Amateur, 2006 CGA Senior Match Play and 2009 CGA Father- Son Championship (with his son, Steve).
4. Doug Rohrbaugh. The Colorado Golf Hall of Fame’s Person of the Year in 2014 finished tied for 12th at Champions Tour Q-School, earning him conditional status on the Champions Tour. Rohrbaugh, the head PGA Professional at Ironbridge Golf Club in Glenwood Springs, also won the Colorado PGA Section’s PGA Professional Championship en route to becoming its Senior Player of the Year.
5. Sherry Adonian Smith. A PGA Professional at Valley, she finished T13 in the HealthONE Senior Open and finished second overall to Doug Rohrbaugh on the points list for the PGA Colorado Section’s Senior Player of the Year. Her performances earned her an exemption to play in all three Colorado Opens in 2015, potentially becoming the first person to accomplish that trifecta.
6. Evans Scholars. Fourteen Colorado teenagers, culled from a pool of more than 40 applicants, received offers of an Evans Scholarship, matching the highest number of in-state recipients in a single class in more than two decades. Worth more than $70,000 in tuition at the University of Colorado if renewed for four years, the “caddie scholarships” are annually bestowed by the Illinois-based Western Golf Association in partnership with the Colorado Golf Association and Colorado Women’s Golf Association.
7. Programs. Colorado continues to lead the nation in innovative golf-related programs. The Solich Caddie and Leadership Academy at CommonGround Golf Course, Colorado PGA REACH, Colorado Golf Foundation, multiple outposts of The First Tee and statewide Golf In Schools programs all aim to promote golf and expose its benefits to as many people as possible—from juniors to military veterans to men and women of all ages.
Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com. Jon Rizzi is the founding editor and co-owner of this regional golf-related media company producing magazines, web content, tournaments, events and the Golf Passport.