Feeling Right at Home

Coloradans Connor Jones, Blake Trimble qualify at Columbine CC for U.S. Amateur that Cherry Hills and Colorado GC will host next month

By Gary Baines – 7/6/2023

It doesn’t always work this way, but ideally when a USGA national championship is held in a given state, it’s seems fitting to have arguably the best eligible player from that state actually earn a berth in the event.

Some would argue that’s what happened on Thursday at Columbine Country Club as Connor Jones of Westminster earned medalist honors in qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, which this year will be played at Cherry Hills Country Club Aug. 14-20, with Colorado Golf Club co-hosting the stroke-play portion of the championship.

Jones, the Colorado State University golfer who is No. 73 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (his former CSU teammate, Davis Bryant of Aurora, is No. 78), won the qualifier by a whopping five strokes. Jones, who swept the CGA Amateur and Match Play titles in 2022, went 68-65 for an 11-under-par 133 total for two rounds.

It’s Jones’ second time qualifying for the U.S. Am as he also did so in 2021.

Joining him in punching his ticket to the U.S. Am on Thursday was a home-course favorite. Blake Trimble of Denver, a 36-year-old former University of San Diego golfer who plays out of Columbine, ended up second at 138 (70-68).

Jones and Trimble are the second and third Colorado residents to qualify for the 2023 U.S. Amateur as Gavin Hagstrom of Fort Collins made the grade on Monday in a qualifier in Laramie, Wyo. 

Jones, runner-up in the prestigious Trans-Miss last year at Denver Country Club, made two eagles — on the par-5 second hole and the par-4 fifth — during the morning round on Monday, adding three birdies and three bogeys. In the second round, he went bogey-free, recording seven birdies. 

As for Trimble, he carded 10 birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey over the two rounds to check in at 138, one better than first alternate Cole Nygren of Longmont, the 2021 CGA Match Play champion.

Thursday marked the first of three Colorado-based qualifying tournaments for the U.S. Am — one more than is typical for the state in a given year. The upcoming ones are set for July 18 at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora and July 25 at Collindale Golf Course in Fort Collins.

In each case, roughly 84 contestants are battling for two spots in the U.S. Am, where an overall field of 312 will tee it up.

As for the upcoming Colorado-base U.S. Am qualifiers, among those scheduled to compete at CommonGround on July 18 are Hunter Swanson of Denver, who helped the University of Colorado qualify for the NCAA nationals for the first time since 2002; 2015 and ’23 CGA Match Play champion Nick Nosewicz of Aurora; and Brady Duval of Cherry Hills Village, son of 2001 British Open champion David Duval. Scheduled to tee it up at Collindale on Sept. 25 are two-time CGA Amateur champion Colin Prater from Colorado Springs; 2021 U.S. Am qualifiers TJ Shehee of Mead and Sean Crowley of Columbine Valley; three-time CGA major runner-up Parker Edens; and two-time CGA Player of the Year Pat Grady (2007 and 08). Edens and Grady are reinstated amateurs.

For all the scores from Thursday’s qualifier at Columbine, CLICK HERE.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates