The 47th Colorado Cup Matches had a unique feel to them in many respects, and not just because they were played in temperatures reaching the mid-70s on a gorgeous mid-October day at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.
Certainly a new format for the amateur vs. pro Ryder Cup-style competition had plenty to do with that. But there was also the lopsided 26-14 victory for the Colorado PGA professionals (left) over amateurs from the CGA and CWGA on Tuesday.
That was certainly a turnabout from recent years as the amateurs had swept all three divisions of the competition last year: Open, Senior and Women. In fact, the Open Division amateurs had beaten the professionals three straight times, and the Women's Division amateurs were 11-0 all-time against the pros.
"We had to come back and beat the amateurs because we've lost a few times here lately," said Rick Cole, the 2017 CPGA Senior Player of the Year, who won all three of his matches on Tuesday. "So it's good to get those bragging rights back for sure."
Unlike in the past, all the divisions this year were competing for just one Cup, and the pros turned the trend in their favor.
"Their (amateur) team is good, so any time you can beat good players, it's always fun," said Geoff Keffer (left, with foursomes partner Ari Papadopoulos), the Colorado PGA's Player of the Year for the fourth consecutive year. "And the bragging rights, it's just like playing your buddies: Bragging rights is way better than anything else."
With college golfers not being allowed to play for the amateur squad for the first time -- the NCAA ruled that was a no-no for this event during the school year -- the PGA pros swept all three nine-hole sessions on Tuesday. They won the four-ball 7.5-2.5, foursomes 6-4 and singles 12.5-7.5.
The lack of college competitors gave a different complexion to the event. Last year, when the amateurs swept all three divisions of the Cup Matches for the first time, more than half of the Open and Women's Division amateurs were college-age players.
"When I saw our (women's amateur) team was all seniors, I was surprised," said Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Janet Moore. "That's unfortunate (not to have any college players) because you always want to field your strongest team. It's always good to have the college players in this. I wish they could have played.
"But it was a great format. I loved the three nine holes and the different events in each one. I really enjoyed that. And The Broadmoor is so gracious, and it's one of my favorite places in the world to play. The course is in great shape. It was really fun."
But while some of the amateurs missed the college players competing on their squad, some pros prefer it this way.
"It's a little more fun without the college kids just because we're not college kids anymore," Keffer said.
(Pictured at left are mid-ams Jeff Chapman and Brad Rowe.)
Winning all three of their matches on Tuesday for the pros were Caine Fitzgerald, Holly Champion, Dave Detweiler, Cole, Eric Bradley, Paul Lobato and Alexandra Braga. Going 2-0-1 were Keffer and amateur Todd Edwards.
"It was a little disappointing (to lose)," said Edwards, who just moved back to Colorado and didn't even know the Colorado Cup Matches existed until recently receiving a phone call inviting him to play. "But to be here at The Broadmoor and to meet some new friends both on the amateur and the professional side, you can't get a better day than that. But I'm definitely disappointed. I would have loved to have come out with a win."
Even though there was just one competition this year, had there still been three like in the past, the Colorado PGA pros would have swept them, 8-5-3 in the Open Division, 10-5-1 in the Senior Division, and 6-2 in the Women's Division. That's especially a change in the women's ranks as the amateurs had never before lost to the pros in this event.
"The women pros fielded a stronger team (than in the past), which was really fun," Moore said.
"It feels nice that we all performed well and played well as a team," said two-time Colorado PGA Women's Champion Braga, who was competing in the Cup Matches for the first time. "My partner (Champion) and I were undefeated and we represented the Section pretty well."
(Pictured at left are amateurs Deb Hughes and Christie Austin watching pro Tara Morris tee off on Tuesday.)
This will be the last year the Colorado Cup is held on an annual basis. From now on, it will be a biennial competition, played in odd-numbered years. It's traditionally been conducted in the summer, but from now on, the plan is to schedule it in the fall.
"I love match play, so I could play it all the time," Keffer said. "To wait two years, now we get an extra year of bragging rights. You've got to like that."
In another change, the rosters for the Cup matches were decreased starting this year, with eight Open Division, eight Senior Division and four Women's Division players for each side instead of the 12, 12 and six used in the past.
Also new this year was playing three nine-hole matches in a day, with four-ball followed by foursomes, then singles to conclude the day.
That format was popular with the players -- especially on a near-perfect fall day at a setting like The Broadmoor, which next summer will be hosting the U.S. Senior Open.
"For me personally, it's like a vacation because you get to come to The Broadmoor and play 27 holes," Cole said. "It's a perfect ending to the season. It's been such a good year, a fun year, and it's a beautiful day."
Colorado Cup Matches
At The Broadmoor GC in Colorado Springs
FINAL SCORE: COLORADO PGA PROFESSIONALS 26, CGA AND CWGA AMATEURS 14
(1 Point for a Win, 0.5 for a Tie)
9-HOLE FOUR-BALL (Colorado PGA Professionals 7.5, CGA/CWGA Amateurs 2.5)
Geoff Keffer/Caine Fitzgerald (P) def. Scott Crawford/Nick Nosewicz, 3 and 2
Todd Edwards/Jon Lindstrom (A) halved with Kyle Voska/Kirk Trowbridge (P)
Ari Papadopoulos/Eric Bradley (P) def. Ryan Axlund/Jeff Chapman, 2 and 1
Peter Norwood/Visanu Tongwarin (P) def. Brad Rowe/Chris Thayer, 2 and 1
Rick Cole/Dave Detweiler (P) def. Owen Ellis/Thomas Roos, 2 and 1
Paul Lobato/Dale Smigelsky (P) def. Keith Atkins/Brian Woody, 1 up
David Delich/Steve Ivan (A) def. Chris Johnson/Doug Rohrbaugh, 1 up
Ken Krieger/Ron Vlosich (P) def. Guy Mertz/Kent Moore, 3 and 1
Janet Moore/Christie Austin (A) def. Sherry Andonian-Smith/Tara Morris, 2 and 1
Alexandra Braga/Holly Champion (P) def. Deb Hughes/Kelly Martin, 3 and 2
9-HOLE FOURSOMES (Colorado PGA Professionals 6, CGA/CWGA Amateurs 4)
Rick Cole/Dave Detweiler (P) def. Keith Atkins/Brian Woody, 1 up
Alexandra Braga/Holly Champion (P) def. Janet Moore/Christie Austin, 1 up
Chris Thayer/Ryan Axlund (A) halved with Geoff Keffer/Ari Papadopoulos (P)
Owen Ellis/Thomas Roos (A) def. Ken Krieger/Ron Vlosich, 1 up
Paul Lobato/Dale Smigelsky (P) def. David Delich/Steve Ivan, 3 and 2
Chris Johnson/Doug Rohrbaugh (P) def. Guy Mertz/Kent Moore, 1 up
Jeff Chapman/Brad Rowe (A) halved with Kyle Voska/Kirk Trowbridge (P)
Todd Edwards/Scott Crawford (A) def. Peter Norwood/Visanu Tongwarin, 2 and 1
Caine Fitzgerald/Eric Bradley (P) def. Nick Nosewicz/Jon Lindstrom, 5 and 4
Deb Hughes/Kelly Martin (A) def. Sherry Andonian-Smith/Tara Morris, 3 and 2
9-HOLE SINGLES (Colorado PGA Professionals 12.5, CGA/CWGA Amateurs 7.5)
David Delich (A) halved with Doug Rohrbaugh (P)
Brad Rowe (A) def. Visanu Tongwarin, 4 and 3
Keith Atkins (A) def. Ron Vlosich, 3 and 2
Chris Thayer (A) def. Kyle Voska, 1 up
Sherry Andonian-Smith (P) def. Christie Austin, 4 and 2
Eric Bradley (P) def. Jeff Chapman, 1 up
Geoff Keffer (P) def. Jon Lindstrom, 1 up
Alexandra Braga (P) def. Janet Moore, 1 up
Tara Morris (P) def. Deb Hughes, 4 and 2
Rick Cole (P) def. Owen Ellis, 3 and 1
Thomas Roos (A) def. Chris Johnson, 2 and 1
Caine Fitzgerald (P) def. Nick Nosewicz, 1 up
Holly Champion (P) def. Kelly Martin, 3 and 2
Peter Norwood (P) def. Scott Crawford, 5 and 3
Dave Detweiler (P) def. Brian Woody, 2 and 1
Ryan Axlund (A) def. Ari Papadopoulos, 2 up
Todd Edwards (A) def. Kirk Trowbridge, 3 and 1
Kent Krieger (P) def. Steve Ivan, 3 and 1
Paul Lobato (P) def. Kent Moore, 1 up
Guy Mertz (A) def. Dale Smigelsky, 2 and 1
Pictured below are the CGA and CWGA amateurs who competed on Tuesday: