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Another USGA Championship for Colorado

Another USGA Championship for Colorado

2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur coming to Colorado Golf Club; CommonGround will be second stroke-play course

by Gary Baines


Colorado last hosted a USGA championship in 2012 when the U.S. Amateur paid a visit, but there are now two national events on the horizon.

Less than three months after the USGA announced that The Broadmoor will be hosting the U.S. Senior Open in 2018, the association on Thursday revealed its plans for the 2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur to come to Colorado Golf Club in Parker, with CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora serving as the second stroke-play course for the tournament.

The dates are set for Sept. 21-26, 2019, with two rounds of stroke play preceding 64 players advancing to match play.

"The USGA is pleased to bring a championship to Colorado Golf Club (pictured) for the first time," said Diana Murphy, who is set to become the president of the USGA in February. "The course has a proven record in both stroke-play and match-play competition, and the variety of risk-reward options will allow for exciting and dramatic play, helping to identify a champion worthy of hoisting the Robert T. Jones Jr. Memorial Trophy."
It will mark just the second time the U.S. Mid-Am -- a championship for players 25 and older -- will be contested in Colorado. The 1983 Mid-Am was held at Cherry Hills Country Club, with Jay Sigel winning one of his five USGA titles, this one coming just a month after capturing the U.S. Amateur championship.
Overall, it will be the 33rd USGA championship played in Colorado, with the first being the 1938 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills.
Colorado Golf Club, designed by Bill Coore and two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, has hosted the 2010 Senior PGA Championship (won by Tom Lehman) and the 2013 Solheim Cup (where Europe defeated the U.S.) in its first decade of existence, but this will be its first USGA national championship for the club that opened in 2007. However, Colorado GC has hosted numerous USGA qualifiers over the years, including U.S. Open Local Qualifying in 2009.
"We've always wanted to work with the USGA, so this is really exciting," Graham Cliff, head professional at Colorado Golf Club, said on Thursday. "From Day 1 we've wanted to give back to amateur golf. For guys that don't turn pro, this is a huge event. And it fits in with our mission to give back to the game." 
CommonGround (left), which is owned and operated by the CGA, served as the second stroke-play course for the 2012 U.S. Amateur that Cherry Hills hosted. Designed by Tom Doak, CommonGround opened in 2009.
"If you told me in 2009 that in the first decade of the golf course that it would play a significant role in two (USGA) championships, I'd have said we're hitting it out of the park," said Ed Mate, executive director of the CGA. "But it's one of the main reasons we did what we did in hiring a (big-league) architect who designs a course worthy of them."

After the USGA progressed in discussions with Colorado Golf Club officials about hosting the Mid-Am, USGA director of regional affairs Mark Passey called representatives of CommonGround to see if they were interested in being the companion course.

The USGA said, "We'd love your golf course (to co-host the stroke-play rounds)," Mate relayed. "They said your golf course complements Colorado Golf Club really well. It all just made sense."

The U.S. Mid-Amateur dates back to 1981. Coloradan Bill Loeffler captured the championship in 1986 in Madison, Miss. Traditionally, the U.S. Mid-Am champion receives an invitation to the following year's Masters.

With the 2019 U.S. Mid-Am, Colorado will add to the extensive and diverse list of significant golf championships it has hosted -- or is scheduled to host -- since The International PGA Tour event ended its 21-year run after the 2006 tournament.

That list includes:

-- The 2008 U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor
-- The 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links at Murphy Creek
-- The 2009 Palmer Cup at Cherry Hills
-- The 2010 Senior PGA Championship at Colorado Golf Club
-- The 2010 Trans-Mississippi at Denver Country Club
-- The 2011 U.S. Women's Open at The Broadmoor
-- The 2012 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills and CommonGround
-- The 2013 Solheim Cup at Colorado Golf Club
-- The 2014 BMW Championship at Cherry Hills
-- The 2018 U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor
-- The 2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Colorado Golf Club and CommonGround.