When it comes to the Colorado Cup matches between some of the state's best professional and amateur golfers, perhaps no one has more perspective than Bill Loeffler.
Loeffler, a three-time winner of the Colorado Open and the 1986 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, has the distinction of having competed in the Colorado Cup in every decade it's been held -- the 1970s, '80s, '90s, 2000s and the 2010s.
Furthermore, he's played multiple times for both the amateur and the professional sides. And he can still distinctly remember competing for the amateur team in the 1978 Cup, when he beat Warren Smith, the much-revered Cherry Hills Country Club head professional. One of Loeffler's amater teammates that year was Steve Jones, who would go on to win the 1996 U.S. Open.
"As an amateur I always thought, 'God, if we could just beat these professionals,'" Loeffler said Wednesday. "And now as a professional, it's like, 'We can't let these amateurs win; we're supposed to be the professionals. We're supposed to be the cream of the crop.'"
And so it goes in the annual competition, the 44th of which was held Wednesday at the Golf Club at Bear Dance in Larkspur. It's always been a friendly matchup, but make no mistake about it: each side wants to win.
"It's all fun, but when you get out there, it's like, you don't want to lose either," said four-time CGA Mid-Amateur champion Keith Humerickhouse, the men's amateur open division captain. "It's that competitiveness that we all love. Camaraderie is awesome, (but) ultimately you want to win. I don't care who you are."
On Wednesday, the Cup matches ended up in a split decision. The men's amateurs won the open division for the first time in four years. The professionals prevailed in the senior division for the eighth time in nine years. And the amateur women defeated the pros for the 10th time in as many tries.
The CGA amateurs (pictured at top) edged their Colorado PGA counterparts 10-8 in the open competition after the completion of four-ball and singles matches. That makes the all-time series 30-12 in the professionals' favor, with two ties.
With Loeffler going 2-0 on the day, the host Colorado PGA continued to dominate the men's senior division, prevailing this time by a 13.5-4.5 count. That evens up the all-time senior series 15-15, with two ties. (The winning professional team is pictured above, primarily in orange.)
And the CWGA representatives (left) kept intact their run of perfection in the Colorado Cup, winning 7-2 on Wednesday.
"This is my first time in it, so I didn't really know what to expect coming in," said amateur Kathleen Kershisnik, who was under par in winning both her singles and four-ball matches. "But I definitely knew it would be awesome to beat them. I didn't know we were completely undefeated (all time in the women's competition), so that's nice. It probably would have pushed me to do better if I knew that beforehand. I kind of like the pressure. But I'm glad we did (win) it. It's just a fun event."
While the men's senior and women's division were somewhat lopsided affairs, the men's open division was close enough that only four of the 24 players involved won both of their matches: amateurs John Ahern and Dylan Mitchell, and professionals Rob Hunt and Eric Bradley.
(Among those with at least one win on the day were the foursome pictured adjacent, from left in orange, professionals Geoff Keffer and Blake Sharamitaro, along with University of Colorado teammates David Oraee and Ethan Freeman.)
Humerickhouse rallied late in his singles match with Tray Shehee to square things going into the final hole. But, showing that there's plenty of sportsmanship to go around in the event, both players agreed to halve their match after they had put their second shots side by side just off the green on the par-5 eighth hole, their last of the day.
"We turned to each other and he said, 'halve?' and I said, '100 percent I'll take a halve,'" said Humerickhouse, a former professional who was playing in the Colorado Cup for the first time. "It was awesome. We both were thinking the same thing. That was a perfect ending. On the tee I said, 'Let's both make eagle and be done with it.' And it turns out that's what happened in a roundabout way."
And then there was Kershisnik, who made four birdies on the first five holes of her 6-and-5 singles victory over Katie Milstead.
"I played very well and I got the putter going," said Kershisnik, a University of Wyoming golfer. "When I started out that second match really hot, (Milstead) was giving me a little bit of grief and saying she's too old for this. It was fun."
In all, 60 players competed in the event at Bear Dance.
Colorado Cup Matches
At GC at Bear Dance in Larkspur
(Note: P indicates professional, A indicates amateur)
MEN'S OPEN DIVISION
FINAL SCORE: CGA 10, Colorado PGA 8
Four-Ball: CPGA 3, CGA 3
Geoff Keffer/Blake Sharamitaro, P, def. Andrew Cornella/Minkyu Jeon, 6 and 5
Keith Humerickhouse/Alex Kephart, A, def. Dan O'Shaughnessy/Tray Shehee, 5 and 4
Micah Rudosky/Eric Bradley, P, def. Barry Erwin/Jack Adolfson, 2 up
Michael Harrington/Dylan Mitchell, A, def. Shawn Wills/Jeff Carlson, 2 and 1
Rob Hunt/Andrew Hedrick., P, def. Lamar Carlile/Ethan Freeman, 1 up
David Oraee/John Ahern, A, def. Caine Fitzgerald/Travis Morton, 1 up
Singles: CGA 7, CPGA 5
Andrew Cornella, A, def. Andrew Hedrick, 5 and 4
Rob Hunt, P, def. Michael Harrington, 4 and 3
Caine Fitzgerald, P, def. Minkyu Jeon, 4 and 3
John Ahern, A, def. Travis Morton, 3 and 2
Dan O'Shaughnessy, P, def. Alex Kephart, 2 and 1
Keith Humerickhouse, A, halved with Tray Shehee
Jack Adolfson, A, def. Jeff Carlson, 2 up
Lamar Carlile, A, def. Shawn Wills, 3 and 1
Ethan Freeman, A, def. Geoff Keffer, 4 and 3
David Oraee, A, halved with Blake Sharamitaro
Dylan Mitchell, A, def. Micah Rudosky, 2 and 1
Eric Bradley, P, def. Barry Erwin, 1 up
MEN'S SENIOR DIVISION
FINAL SCORE: Colorado PGA 13.5, CGA 4.5
Four-Ball: CPGA 5.5, CGA 0.5
Rick Ellefson/Zane Zwemke, P, def. Guy Mertz/Mike Larson, 4 and 3
Bill Loeffler/Paul Lobato, P, def. Eric Hoos/Frank Wilkinson, 2 and 1
Bob McNamee/Perry Holmes, P, def. Dave Brown/Pat Bowe, 2 and 1
Mike Northern/Doug Rohrbaugh, P, def. Harry Johnson/Sean Forey, 2 and 1
Rick Cole/Craig Stephens, P, def. Thomas Roos/Bob Chandler, 2 and 1
Kelly Crone/Art Cudworth, A, halved with David Arbuckle/Gregg Jones
Singles: CPGA 8, CGA 4
Bill Loeffler, P, def. Eric Hoos, 6 and 5
Paul Lobato, P, def. Dave Brown, 4 and 3
Bob McNamee, P, def. Frank Wilkinson, 2 and 1
Mike Larson, A, def. Rick Ellefson, 4 and 3
Thomas Roos, A, def. Craig Stephens, 4 and 3
Rick Cole, P, def. Art Cudworth, 4 and 3
Zane Zwemke, P, def. Pat Bowe, 2 and 1
Guy Mertz, A, def. Gregg Jones, 3 and 2
David Arbuckle, P, def. Kelly Crone, 3 and 2
Mike Northern, P, def. Bob Chandler, 5 and 3
Sean Forey, A, def. Perry Holmes, 3 and 2
Doug Rohrbaugh, P, def. Harry Johnson, 3 and 2
FINAL SCORE: CWGA 7, CPGA 2
Four-Ball: CWGA 2, CPGA 1
Christie Austin/Tori Glenn, A, def. Sherry Andonian-Smith/Leslie Core Dravecky, 3 and 2
Deb Hughes/Kathleen Kershisnik, A, def. Katie Milstead/Courtney Rudolph, 3 and 2
Holly Shupe/Kimmy Bean, P, def. Kathy Malpass/Samantha Stancato, 2 and 1
Singles: CWGA 5, CPGA 1
Deb Hughes, A, def. Kimmy Bean, default
Kathleen Kershisnik, A, def. Katie Milstead, 6 and 5
Samantha Stancato, A, def. Sherry Andonian-Smith, 7 and 6
Kathy Malpass, A, def. Leslie Core-Dravecky, 7 and 6
Courtney Rudolph, P, def. Christie Austin, 4 and 3
Tori Glenn, A, def. Holly Shupe, 7 and 6