65 not good enough for Coloradans Matt Schalk, Jackson Solem & Griffin Barela in Monday qualifying for The Ascendant at TPC Colorado, but 2023 Inspirato Colorado Open champ/2021 NCAA winner among those who advance

By Gary Baines – 7/8/2024

In the go-low-or-go-home world of Monday qualifying for tour events, three Coloradans came up short of advancing to this week’s Ascendant presented by Blue in Berthoud despite shooting rounds of 7-under-par 65 on Monday.

Eight players — four each from Colorado National in Erie and Broadlands in Broomfield — earned spots in The Ascendant at TPC Colorado, which starts Thursday. But Matt Schalk, the longtime PGA general manager at Colorado National, 2023 Rocky Mountain Open champion Jackson Solem of Longmont and 2021 CGA Amateur winner Griffin Barela of Lakewood didn’t make the grade despite carding 65s at CNGC.

Schalk, the 2022 national Senior PGA Professional Champion who recently competed in the U.S. Senior Open, missed out despite playing his final seven holes in 6 under par. That stretch included eagles on the 12th and 17th holes. Solem, who started his day with a double bogey, was nearly as good down the stretch, going 5 under for his final seven holes. Barela, meanwhile, posted a 5-under 31 on the back nine. But they all fell one short of what would have been a playoff for the final qualifying spots.

Meanwhile, former Colorado School of Mines golfer George Markham also fell short — in his case in a playoff at Broadlands after he carded a bogey-free 6-under 66 in regulation.

Monday did produce a medalist with a bit of recent history in Colorado. At Broadlands, 2023 Inspirato Colorado Open champion Turk Pettit of Choudrant, La., earned the top spot, shooting a bogey-free 8-under-par 64 to advance. The 2021 NCAA champ, who won almost $1.7 million competing on LIV Golf in 2022, carded an eagle and six birdies on Monday. 

Last year’s Colorado Open marked Pettit’s first visit to the Centennial State. Prior to joining LIV Golf, he played in three PGA Tour events — one in 2021 and two in 2022 — and he also competed in six KFT tournaments in the first five months of ’22. But he hasn’t played in a full-fledged PGA Tour-sanctioned event since his LIV Golf days two years ago, and he’s believed to be one of the first few LIV players returning to PGA Tour-affiliated action, though he did participate in Q-school last fall. LIV golfers Laurie Canter and Bernd Weisberger are teeing it up at the PGA Tour’s Genesis Scottish Open, which starts earlier on Thursday. 

Setting the standard at Colorado National on Monday was Charles Reiter of Newport Beach, Calif., who posted a cool 10-under 62, making an eagle, nine birdies and one bogey. The former University of San Diego golfer has played in two of the last three U.S. Opens.

Joining Reiter in advancing from Colorado National were Will Chandler of Atlanta, a former University of Georgia golfer who will be making his fourth Korn Ferry Tour start of 2024 (64 on Monday); Brayden Garrison of Franklin, Tenn., a former University of Tennessee player who will be making his KFT debut (64); and Austin Duncan of York, S.C., a former North Greenville University golfer who will be playing in his second career KFT event (64). Garrison made nine consecutive birdies on Monday, starting on hole 5.

Making it into the championship from Broadlands — in addition to Pettitt — were Thomas Henson of Hermann, Mo., who played at Louisiana Tech last season (65 on Monday, including an 8-under 28 on the back nine); Caleb Hicks of Arlington, Texas; and Timmy Crawford of Arlington Heights, Ill. (both 66). Hicks is headed to his fourth KFT event of 2024 and Crawford just wrapped up his college career at the University of Illinois.

Hicks and Crawford advanced through a 9-for-2 playoff which included Markham.

With qualifying for The Ascendant now completed, here are the golfers in the field who have significant Colorado and area ties:

— Former CU golfer Jeremy Paul

— Former Air Force Academy golfer Kyle Westmoreland

— Part-time Denver resident Kevin Stadler

— Fort Collins resident Sam Saunders

— Fort Collins resident AJ Ott

— Cheyenne native Josh Creel, who started his college golf career at CU before completing it at Central Oklahoma

For more about the 156-player field that was unveiled on Friday by the Korn Ferry Tour, CLICK HERE.

(Updated July 9) For Thursday and Friday’s tee times at The Ascendant, 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. The University of Colorado Evans Scholar alum was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates