Storied Match Play, the CGA’s oldest championship, set to be contested for 120th consecutive year, this time at Blackstone CC
By Gary Baines – 6/12/2020
The CGA Match Play Championship features an illustrious history. But that in some ways comes with the territory when a prestigious statewide tournament is being held for the 120th time.
All it takes to prove the Match Play is a big-time event is to look at its former champions. There’s a couple of World Golf Hall of Famers (Hale Irwin and Lawson Little), other winners of PGA Tour events (1996 U.S. Open champion Steve Jones and Kevin Stadler), a onetime USGA president (Frank Woodward, who won the first title, in 1901) and a two-time winner on PGA Tour Champions (Brandt Jobe).
This year will mark the 120th in a row in which the tournament has been held. Even two World Wars didn’t stop it from being conducted.
To put that into perspective, the Colorado Open has been held 55 times, the Colorado PGA Professional Championship 62, the Rocky Mountain Open 81 and the CGA Amateur at least 84.
This time, the Match Play will be contested at a site where it’s never ventured before — at Blackstone Country Club in southeast Aurora. It will run Monday through Friday of next week (June 15-19), with the title being settled by a scheduled 36-hole match, as has been the tradition.
A stroke-play qualifying round is planned for Monday, setting the seeding for the second through 64th players in the bracket, with defending champion Josh McLaughlin of the Olde Course at Loveland being the top seed.
The first round of match play will take place on Tuesday, and two rounds of matches each on Wednesday and Thursday will get the field down to the final two. The Match Play is a walking-only event, so endurance can be an issue for golfers who advance far into the match-play bracket.
This year’s 84-person list of contestants includes six former champions. In addition to McLaughlin, there are AJ Ott of Ptarmigan Country Club (2018 winner), Nick Nosewicz of CommonGround Golf Course (2015), Brian Dorfman of Cherry Creek Country Club (2012), Steve Irwin of Lakewood Country Club (2004) and Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Kent Moore of Cherry Hills Country Club (1989).
McLaughlin, Nosewicz and Steve Irwin are the only CGA Match Play champions in the 21st century who won the title in their mid-20s or later.
Also scheduled to tee it up are 2019 CGA Amateur champion Davis Bryant, who like Ott was an NCAA Division I honorable mention All-American at Colorado State University this past season; two-time U.S. Amateur qualifier Colin Prater; reigning CGA Mid-Amateur champ Ryan Axlund; three-time CGA Mid-Am winner Jon Lindstrom; 2014 CGA Player of the Year Michael Harrington; along with other Coloradans playing for NCAA Division I programs such as Cal McCoy (University of Denver, last year’s Match Play runner-up), Dillon Stewart (Oklahoma State), Jackson Solem (DU), Ross Macdonald (University of Colorado), Griffin Barela (University of Wisconsin), Jack Castiglia (University of Northern Colorado), Connor Jones (DU), Tyler Severin (Wyoming) and Jack Hughes (CU).
Spectators at the Match Play will be permitted Wednesday through Friday only.
For Monday’s tee times at Blackstone, CLICK HERE.
Next year, some changes will be made to the CGA Match Play format and scheduling. Starting in 2021, instead of it being single-elimination from the beginning, pod play will be used to get the field down to the final 16. In each four-person pod, a round robin will be held, with the pod winner advancing to the round of 16, where single-elimination will begin.
In addition, the 2021 CGA Match Play will be held concurrently and at the same courses as the CGA Women’s Match Play. CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora will be home to pod play — and the round of 16 for the CGA Match Play — while Colorado Golf Club in Parker will host the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals for both the Match Play and the Women’s Match Play.