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Irwin wins 104th CGA State Amateur Match Play

July 5-9, 2004, Riverdale Dunes Golf Course


by Colorado Golf Association - 7/9/2004


Steve Irwin of Omni Interlocken Resort birdied the 34th hole to defeat Michael Baird of Plum Creek G & CC 3 and 2 in the 36-hole final match of the 104th CGA State Amateur Match Play Championship at Riverdale Dunes Golf Course. Irwin’s birdie on 16 capped a remarkable comeback and one of the most incredible finishes in Colorado amateur golf history.

Despite being 2 up after three holes, Irwin found himself 4 down after the morning’s first 18 holes in which Baird said ”I played about as well as I could play.” Irwin said “Being 4 down at the break made me really go into grind mode. I knew I couldn’t make up four holes all at once, so I really took it one shot at a time.” Irwin began the second 18 with a birdie on 1 to cut Baird’s lead the 3 up, but Baird returned the favor with a birdie on #2 to return to 4 up. Irwin cut Baird’s lead to 2 up with a par on #5, then he began his incredible run with a birdie on the 6th hole. Irwin’s birdie on #6 was the first of eight birdies he would make over the last 11 holes, ending with his birdie on #16 to win the match 3 and 2.

Baird kept trying to get back into the lead during Irwin’s run, but he said, “Steve kept rolling in those 30-footers, he never let up.” Irwin rolled in birdies three times on top of Baird’s during the second 18, including back to back times on #13 and #14. “Those were the two biggest holes of the match,” said Irwin. With Irwin 2 up on the 476-yard par-4 13th, when Baird made a 25-foot birdie putt only to watch Irwin drop a 23-foot birdie on top of his to halve the hole. Then on #14, Baird had almost holed out his chip for eagle and Irwin conceded the birdie to him, then Irwin made his 20-foot birdie again to keep his lead at 2 up. Irwin held his 2 up lead through 15 and won 3 and 2 with his birdie on #16.

Irwin credited his turn around in the second 18 to a change in his putting stoke that was suggested by his caddy Jessi (his wife). “This is my first tournament since my (right) shoulder surgery in February, so for the last five month I’ve only been able to putt, and that was only with my left hand. Jessi suggested I go back to that, so I left my right hand off during practice stokes, then just let it along for the ride on the stroke.”

Irwin’s name will be engraved on the Richard C. Campbell Trophy, joining his father Hale’s name (1966) as well as greats such as Steve Jones and Brandt Jobe. Irwin’s gallery of followers included another name on that trophy. Four time champion Larry McAtee watched Irwin play throughout the week, as his wife Jessi is McAtee’s niece. Ironically, In 1966 McAtee was trying to win his fourth consecutive CGA State Match Play title (1963-1965) at Boulder Country Club when he lost the final match to Steve’s father Hale. “I would have won but it was on Hale’s home course,” McAtee still says with a little wink.

Regardless, the match play title is “back in the family,” and Steve, who works for his father at Hale Irwin Golf Services, is glad to be back in amateur golf again. Irwin (29) tried the pro circuit for a few years and found he was an “average pro” and that golf was not enjoyable. His amateur status was reinstated in 2002, and in 2003 he won the CGA Mid-Amateur championship. “Golf is fun again,” said Irwin.

Baird, who was runner-up twice in the CHSAA 5A Boys’ High School championship (2001-2002) will return this fall to Pepperdine University to play golf as a sophomore. But not before he plays the Denver Open, Colorado Open and CGA State Stroke Play. “Making it to the finals has given me a lot of confidence, I am excited to keep playing right now.”

Round of 64
Kevin Denton, Cordillera GC def. Dean Clapp, Meadow Hills GC, 3 and 2
Dustin Mills, Indian Tree GC def. Ken Sady, Sonnenalp GC, 3 and 2
John Hayes, Columbine CC def. Kelly Crone, Deer Creek GC, 6 and 4
John Zerwin, The Ranch CC def. Dan Silva, South Suburban GC, 2 and 1
Michael Baird, Plum Creek GC def. Chance Wagstaff, Flatirons GC, 2 and 1
Steve Murphy, Canterbury GC def. Kent Moore, Cherry Hills CC, 1 up
Andrew Stumpf, Fox Hollow GC def. Rick George, Castle Pines GC, 1 up
Bob Chandler, Heritage at Westmoor def. Jeff Haskins, Keystone Ranch GC, 3 and 2
Bill Fowler, Rolling Hills CC def. Chase Wortmann, Bookcliff CC, 2 and 1
Rick DeWitt, West Woods GC def. Shea Sena, Conquistador GC, 19 holes
Kenny Coakley, Fox Hollow GC def. Chuck Fisher, Riverdale GC, 4 and 2
Matt Strong, Wellshire GC def. Jim Doidge, Pueblo CC, 22 holes
Darrin Hall, Lakewood GC def. Art Cudworth, Pinehurst CC, 3 and 2
Luke Antonelli, Rifle Creek GC def. Nick Marino, Olde Course at Loveland, 2 and 1
Adam Jardon, Monte Vista GC def. Bill Boyd, Highland Hills GC, 2 and 1
Matthew Brunk, Pelican Lakes GC def. Christopher Hynoski, Saddle Rock GC, 3 and 2
Steve Irwin, Omni at Interlocken def. David Delich, The Broadmoor GC, 5 and 4
Gabe Orr, Wray CC def. Matthew Gutowski, Broadlands GC, 3 and 2
Henry Bissell, Wellshire GC def. Ty Capps, Highlands Ranch GC, 2 up
Matt Tani, Riverdale GC def. Ian Ross, Springs Ranch CC, 21 holes
Tom Gempel, The Pinery CC def. Larry Netherton, Highlands Ranch GC, 3 and 2
Jason Coffin, Fox Hill CC def. Jim Grady, Omni at Interlocken, 6 and 5
Aaron Weston, Meridian GC def. William Moore, Sunset GC, 4 and 3
Pat Diaz, Heritage at Westmoor def. Charlie Soule, Ute Creek GC, 1 up
Chuck Schmidt, Heritage at Westmoor def. Logan Wagner, The Pinery CC, 2 up
Riley Andrews, The Links at Highlands Ranch def. Trent Daum, Heather Ridge CC, 2 and 1
Derek O'Neill, Lone Tree GC def. Mark Volk Jr., Lone Tree GC, 2 up
Danny Hahn, Raccoon Creek GC def. Matthew Randel, Flatirons GC, 4 and 3
Michael Glaesel, Indian Tree GC def. Jacob Lestishen, Lone Tree GC, 3 and 2
James Kurtenbach, South Suburban GC def. Jeff Lauretti, The Ridge at Castle Pines, 4 and 3
Chris Carlson, Lone Tree GC def. Carl Juengst, Meridian GC, 4 and 2
Derek Tolan, Highlands Ranch GC def. Nolan Martin, Springs Ranch GC, 22 holes

Round Of 32
Dustin Mills, Indian Tree GC def. Kevin Denton, Cordillera GC, 6 and 4
John Zerwin, The Ranch CC def. John Hayes, Columbine CC, 2 and 1
Michael Baird, Plum Creek GC def. Steve Murphy, Canterbury GC, 3 and 1
Andrew Stumpf, Fox Hollow GC def. Bob Chandler, Heritage at Westmoor, 5 and 4
Bill Fowler, Rolling Hills CC def. Rick DeWitt, West Woods GC, 1 up
Kenny Coakley, Fox Hollow GC def. Matt Strong, Wellshire GC, 2 and 1
Luke Antonelli, Rifle Creek GC def. Darrin Hall, Lakewood GC, 2 and 1
Matthew Brunk, Pelican Lakes GC def. Adam Jardon, Monte Vista GC, 4 and 3
Steve Irwin, Omni at Interlocken def. Gabe Orr, Wray CC, 19 holes
Henry Bissell, Wellshire GC def. Matt Tani, Riverdale GC, 2 and 1
Jason Coffin, Fox Hill CC def. Tom Gempel, The Pinery CC, 3 and 1
Aaron Weston, Meridian GC def. Pat Diaz, Heritage at Westmoor, 3 and 2
Riley Andrews, The Links at Highlands Ranch def. Chuck Schmidt, Heritage at Westmoor, 19 holes
Danny Hahn, Raccoon Creek GC def. Derek O'Neill, Lone Tree GC, 2 and 1
Derek Tolan, Highlands Ranch GC def. Chris Carlson, Lone Tree GC, 1 up
James Kurtenbach, South Suburban GC def. Michael Glaesel, Indian Tree GC, 1 up

Round Of 16
John Zerwin, The Ranch CC def. Dustin Mills, Indian Tree GC, 2 up
Michael Baird, Plum Creek GC def. Andrew Stumpf, Fox Hollow GC, 1 up
Bill Fowler, Rolling Hills CC def. Kenny Coakley, Fox Hollow GC, 1 up
Luke Antonelli, Rifle Creek GC def. Matthew Brunk, Pelican Lakes GC, 2 and 1
Steve Irwin, Omni at Interlocken def. Henry Bissell, Wellshire GC, 6 and 4
Aaron Weston, Meridian GC def. Jason Coffin, Fox Hill CC, 2 and 1
Danny Hahn, Raccoon Creek GC def. Riley Andrews, The Links at Highlands Ranch, 2 up
James Kurtenbach, South Suburban GC def. Derek Tolan, Highlands Ranch GC, 2 and 1

Quarterfinal Round
Michael Baird, Plum Creek GC def. John Zerwin, The Ranch CC, 4 and 3
Luke Antonelli, Rifle Creek GC def. Bill Fowler, Rolling Hills CC, 1 up
Steve Irwin, Omni at Interlocken def. Aaron Weston, Meridian GC, 1 up
James Kurtenbach, South Suburban GC def. Danny Hahn, Raccoon Creek GC, 5 and 3

Semifinal Round
Michael Baird, Plum Creek GC def. Luke Antonelli, Rifle Creek GC, 1 up
Steve Irwin, Omni at Interlocken def. James Kurtenbach, South Suburban GC, 2 and 1

Final Round
Steve Irwin, Omni at Interlocken def. Michael Baird, Plum Creek GC, 3 and 2 


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