Western Slope Victory

Jackson Solem of Longmont goes wire to wire for win at Sinclair Rocky Mountain Open in Grand Junction; CU’s Hunter Swanson finishes fifth and takes low-amateur honors

By Gary Baines – 8/26/2023

Jackson Solem, who grew up in Longmont and played his college golf at the University of Denver, became the second Coloradan in the last three years to win the Sinclair Rocky Mountain Open at Tiara Rado Golf Course in Grand Junction.

Two years after Colorado resident Jake Staiano claimed the title in the RMO — which has been held annually since 1939 — Solem led or shared the lead after each round this year and won by three strokes on Saturday.

Solem, a former 4A state high school individual champion, posted rounds of 62-67-65 for a 19-under-par total, which was three better than Josh Anderson, who closed with a 68.

The victory was worth $25,000 — out of the overall purse of $100,000 — for the Solem, a 2021 U.S. Amateur qualifier.

The 24-year-old made seven birdies and one bogey in the final round. For the tournament overall, he carded an eagle, 19 birdies and two bogeys.

University of Colorado golfer and Denver resident Hunter Swanson, who was bidding to become the first amateur to win the overall RMO title since Paul Brown in 1987, started the final day one out of the lead, but finished in fifth place, seven behind Solem. 

Swanson recorded scores of 66-64-71 for a 12-under-par total, good for low-amateur honors by one stroke.

Among the other Coloradans also notching top-10 finishes on Saturday were Jim Knous and Zahkai Brown, who tied for sixth place at 11 under.

During the awards ceremony, Solem honored his dad, Brian, who passed away in June at age 61 after battling cancer. While Jackson was growing up, Brian was often among the spectators during his tournaments, enthusiastically supporting his son. 

For all the scores from the RMO, 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