$250,000 Up for Grabs

3-time PGA Tour winner Hallberg among headliners at 55th CoBank Colorado Open; defending champ Dru Love a late WD

By Gary Baines – 07/22/2019

Gary Hallberg has won on the PGA Tour. He’s won on PGA Tour Champions. He’s won on what’s now know as the Korn Ferry Tour.

And now the longtime Coloradan will take a shot at winning the CoBank Colorado Open.

Hallberg, 61, and his son Eric are among the 156 players who will tee it up this week in the 55th Colorado Open, set for Thursday through Sunday at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in northeast Denver.

Hallberg, a onetime NCAA individual champion from Wake Forest, has three PGA Tour victories to his credit, along with one PGA Tour Champion win and one on the Korn Ferry Tour.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Colorado Open will feature a $250,000 pursue, with $100,000 going to the winner/top professional, making the event among the most lucrative of its kind in the country.

The last two Colorado Open champions won’t be back this year. Dru Love (2018) withdrew from the event over the weekend after experiencing some heart problems in the days after shooting 60 in the opening round of PGA Tour Canada’s HFX Pro-Am. And part-time Boulder resident Jonathan Kaye (2017) is in the field at the PGA Tour’s Barracuda Championship this week.

But the field is still very stout:

— Seven former champs are scheduled to tee it up: Neil Johnson (2016), Ian Davis (2014), Zahkai Brown of Golden (2013), Derek Tolan of Highlands Ranch (2009 and ’12), Ben Portie of Westminster (2011), Scott Petersen of Parker (2000) and Shane Bertsch of Parker (1998). (FYI: 2010 champion Nate Lashley recently won on the PGA Tour.)

Steven Kupcho comes to the CoBank Colorado Open after winning on the Dakotas Tour over the weekend.

— At least two players who won notable events over the weekend are also entered: AJ Ott of Fort Collins (Southern Amateur) and Steven Kupcho of Westminster (the Dakotas Tour’s Western Corporate Image Pro-Am at Moccasin Creek in South Dakota, with the victory worth $17,000). The latter was Kupcho’s first victory as a professional.

— Speaking of which, CGA Les Fowler Players of the Year in the field: Ott (2018), Jake Staiano (2017), Kyler Dunkle (2016), Derek Fribbs (2013), Kupcho (2012), Brown (2011), Pat Grady (2007 and ’08), Tolan (2005) and Portie (2001).

— Current or former Coloradans who made the cut in the Korn Ferry Tour’s inaugural TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes earlier this month and who will play at GVR: Tom Whitney, James Love and Brown. Whitney leads the 2019 money list for PGA Tour Latinoamerica.

— A strong contingent of local college players are also scheduled to compete. Among them: Ott and Davis Bryant from Colorado State; Cal McCoy and Esteban Missura from the University of Denver; Coby Welch and Jack Castiglia from the University of Northern Colorado; and Coloradan Griffin Barela from the University of Wisconsin.

— Five sons of PGA Tour winners are expected to compete. Besides Eric Hallberg, there’s Sam Triplett (father Kirk), Hayden Wood (father Willie, a past Colorado Open champion), Osten Waite (father Grant) and Taylor Funk (father Fred).

Also in the field is Cory Whitsett, a former No. 1-ranked amateur in the world, and Sam Saunders, the 2018 Colorado Open runner-up.

As always, the Colorado Open is free to attend.

For Thursday’s tee times, CLICK HERE.

Fifth and Final Qualifier Conducted at DU Golf Club at Highlands Ranch: A dozen more players — though no Coloradans — earned spots in the Colorado Open on Monday as the University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch hosted the fifth and final qualifier for the tournament.

Ben Briscoe of Wales made nine birdies and shot an 8-under-par 63 to land medalist honors. 

Joining Briscoe in qualifying for this week’s Open were Christopher Crawford of Bensalem, Pa. (65), Coy Dobson of Austin, Texas (65), Adam Ruben of Lake Oswego, Ore. (66), Garrett Fey of Mesquite, Texas (66), Michael Lamping of Cincinnati (66), Kelly Scharmann of Trabuco Canyon, Calif. (66), Joshua Goldstein of Las Vegas (67), Kavan Eubank of Meridian, Idaho (67), Osten Waite of Ocala, Fla. (68), Logan Holt of Dublin, Ohio (68) and Grant Houser of Holly Springs, N.C. (68).