Lapping the Field

Jennifer Kupcho is certainly no stranger to winning golf tournaments by jaw-dropping margins.

She’s won the last two 4A state high school tournaments by 14 and 10 shots, the 2014 CWGA Junior Stroke Play by nine, the 2014 CJGA Tournament of Champions by 12, the 2014 CJGA Junior Series Championship by eight and low-amateur honors in last year’s HealthOne Colorado Women’s Open by 12.

But all those pale in comparison to what the 18-year-old Westminster resident did this week in the 68th CWGA Stroke Play Championship at Pinehurst Country Club in south Denver. Though she missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have given her a 199 total for three days, her 16-under-par 200 was still good for a remarkable 21-shot victory. (Jennifer is pictured above with her dad/caddie, Mike Kupcho.)

“That’s outstanding,” said Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Janet Moore, a five-time winner of the CWGA Stroke Play who placed 12th on Thursday. “Jennifer is a great player. They definitely set the course up so you could score if you’re hitting the ball well and you putt well. But that’s still outstanding. She played really well. She’s an impressive player.”

Kupcho fired a 5-under-par 67 in Thursday’s final round. And with a 68 and a bogey-free 65 on the previous days, every other competitor was playing for second.

Though CWGA Stroke Play scoring records aren’t complete, Kupcho’s 21-shot victory is certainly one of the largest margins in the history of the event — if not the largest. Double digits certainly has been done before, and there are recollections of spreads of almost 20 strokes in this event, but this week marked a step beyond even that.

On Thursday, 2015 CWGA Junior Stroke Play champion Mary Weinstein of Highlands Ranch finished in second place at 221 after closing with a 78. Former 5A state high school champion Mackenzie Cohen of Inverness Golf Club placed third at 222 after a 74 on Thursday.

“I lost by a big margin, but that’s OK because Jennifer Kupcho, she’s a phenomenal athlete and a great person in general,” said Weinstein, who just broke Kupcho’s record for best girls 15-17 finish by a Coloradan in the Junior World Championships by placing 15th. “So to lose to her shooting under par every day, that’s amazing. I’d rather have her play her best and lose to that instead of having her play bad and lose to that.”

The victory gives Kupcho, who will begin her college career at Wake Forest this fall, a career sweep of the CWGA’s two top individual championships. She won the CWGA Match Play last year en route to CWGA Player of the Year honors.

“It’s real exciting to be playing as well as I am,” said Kupcho, who just last week qualified for her second U.S. Women’s Amateur. “To (win both the Match Play and Stroke Play) by 18 is pretty exciting. To just be one of the best players in Colorado is cool.”

And, of course, Jennifer isn’t the only Kupcho who has won recent state amateur championships in Colorado. Her older brother, Steven. claimed the CGA Stroke Play title in 2012. And they’ve also won their respective state Junior Stroke Plays and been low amateur in the HealthOne Colorado Open and Colorado Women’s Open.

“As a brother and sister we’ve won the juniors and men’s and women’s,” she said. “That’s pretty exciting to be the brother and sister that has done that.”

Steven Kupcho has posted a three-round total of 199 in a tournament before, and that was another feat Jennifer was attempting to match on Thursday. And though she shot her best score ever on Wednesday — the 65, one of the lowest rounds ever posted by a woman at Pinehurst — and made only two bogeys all week, she fell a stroke short in what likely will be her last tournament in Colorado this year.

“My brother’s lowest is 199 over three days, so I was just trying to get to 199,” she said. “My goal was to shoot 66 (Thursday) so I could get that and be able to say ‘I’ve been there, I did that.'”

Kupcho recently put a new set of irons in play, and they paid big dividends as she finished with an eagle and 16 birdies in 54 holes.

“I was just hitting the ball really well,” she said. “I had a lot of tap-in to 3-foot birdie putts throughout the whole tournament, so that was exciting. I’d hit the shot and be like, ‘Oh that was really good.’ That was cool.”

To put Kupcho’s performance into some perspective, the next-lowest three-round scoring total by a CWGA Stroke Play champion in the past seven years is 210. And the average winning score during that period is 218.

Meanwhile, though the gap with Kupcho was huge, Weinstein (left) has likewise put together an outstanding summer. A victory in the CWGA Junior Stroke Play, placing 15th in the Junior Worlds and runner-up in the CWGA Stroke Play isn’t half bad.

“Coming in second in the women’s Stroke Play is really nice because I won the Junior Stroke Play,” said the 17-year-old senior-to-be at Regis Jesuit High School. “People are going to be like, ‘Hey, she might be good.’ I wanted to prove it’s not just the junior tournaments that I can actually play well in. And second place, I’m absolutely fantastic with that.”

CWGA Stroke Play Championship
At Par-72 Pinehurst CC in Denver

Championship Flight 

Jennifer Kupcho, CommonGround WGC 68-65-67–200

Mary Weinstein, CWGA Junior Club 69-74-78–221

Mackenzie L Cohen, Inverness Lga 71-77-74–222

Delaney Elliott, CommonGround WGA 74-72-77–223

Adara Pauluhn, Indian Peaks WGA 73-80-73–226

Sara Swaney, Perry Park CC Wga 78-72-76–226

Taylor Dorans, Eagle Trace Lga 77-71-78–226

Samantha Barker, Perry Park CC Wga 74-73-79–226

Sarah Hankins, Thorncreek Wga 76-75-76–227

Mikayla Tatman, Twin Peaks Lga 76-75-76–227

Kathleen Kershisnik, Columbine CC Lga 78-75-75–228

Janet Moore, Cherry Hills CC Wga 76-75-77–228

Jaylee Tait, Raccoon Creek WGA 77-76-76–229

Kate Granahan, Broken Tee Englewood Wga 76-75-79–230

Megan McCambridge, Boulder CC Wga 78-77-83–238

First Flight 

Kelsey Petersen, Mariana Butte Wga 81-78-74–233

Alleman Zech, Indian Wells Golf Resort 79-82-78–239

Jordan Sunset, Boulder CC Wga 79-81-80–240

Klara Felicita Castillo, Kennedy Lga 81-78-81–240

Madison McCambridge, Boulder CC Wga 78-83-81–242

Sofia Vigil, Park Hill Golf Club 82-79-82–243

Emily Woodard, Cheyenne CC 79-82-82–243

Delaney Benson, CommonGround WGA 78-82-84–244

Jacquelin Biggs, South Suburban Family Sports 81-83-83–247

Danielle Price, Heritage at Westmoor Wga 84-86-80–250

Allie Johnston, Red Hawk Ridge Wga 80-80-WD–WD

Second Flight 

Holly Schaefer, Columbine CC Lga 74-75-78–227

Joanna Ringsby, Denver CC Lga 77-75-80–232

Kathy Malpass, Hiwan Wga 80-74-81–235

Jill Gaschler, Willis Case Wga 76-75-84–235

Jenni Chun, Lone Tree Lga 78-83-76–237

Hannah More, Pinehurst CC WGA 83-76-79–238

Courtney Ewing, CWGA Junior Club 83-81-77–241

Nina Dulacki, Broken Tee Wgl 80-82-79–241

Ashlyn Kirschner, West Woods Wgc 88-74-79–241

Meghan Christensen, Cordillera WGA 87-76-79–242

Dr. Andrea Grilli, The Club at Rolling Hills Wga 87-83-82–252

Third Flight 

Megan Vernon, Applewood Wga 78-82-77–237

Carly Gallant, Boulder CC Wga 88-78-85–251

Susan Schell, Arrowhead Wga 80-85-86–251

Katty Rothberg, Cherry Creek CC Wga 84-82-91–257

Kelli Poppenhagen, Meadow Hills Wga 90-80-88–258

Emma Mellman, Cherry Creek CC Wga 83-88-88–259

Sheila Schroeder, Broken Tee Englewood Wga 86-87-87–260

Jennifer Hocking, Cherokee Ridge Lga 87-86-89–262

Patty Smogor, Saddle Rock Wga 85-93-87–265

Kathleen Johnson, Ranch CC Lga 87-97-92–276

Mary Doyen, Foothills Wga 78-DQ

Fourth Flight 

Mariko Coplin, Fox Hollow Lgc 87-84-86–257

Marie Schriefer, South Suburban Wga 87-88-86–261

Cindy Speer, Raccoon Creek Wga 89-86-89–264

Kimalee Hull, Broken Tee Englewood Wga 90-85-89–264

Jenny Tempas, Columbine CC Lga 85-91-90–266

Janine Lowe, South Suburban Wga 93-89-85–267

Maggie Brindley, Pinehurst CC Wga 82-95-90–267

Kay Geitner, South Suburban Wga 90-87-91–268

Alison O’Connor, Collindale Wga 87-93-88–268

Diane Duschatko, South Suburban Wga 90-92-90–272

Andrea Berry, Indian Peaks Wga 93-91-91–275

Vicki Porter, Foothills Wga 91-87-97–275

Pat O’Connor, Collindale Wga 92-92-92–276

Claudia Gallegos, South Suburban Wga 89-93-95–277

Juliet Miner, Bear Dance Wga 92-93-93–278

Andrea Dikeou, Castle Pines Wga 91-95-97–283

Fifth Flight 

Holly Schuetz, Meadow Hills Wga 93-92-90–275

Debbie Childs, South Suburban Wga 92-94-90–276

Jennie Jones, South Suburban Wga 94-95-88–277

Linda Powell, Broken Tee Englewood Wga 98-91-90–279

Lyndon Lieb, Broken Tee Englewood Wga 90-94-96–280

Linda Loveland, Broken Tee Englewood Wga 96-91-95–282

Becky Finger, Riverdale Wga 89-97-96–282

Karen Baron, Inverness Hotel & GC 99-93-96–288

Donna Edelen, Riverdale Wga 98-105-89–292

Karen Lesko, Executive Women’s Ga-Denver 94-104-98–296

Kris Woodruff, Sonnenalp Wga 109-96-97–302

Kathy Mansueto, Broken Tee Wgl 100-101-101–302

Pat Jackson, Links Lga 99-103-101–303

Susie Goldberg, Overland Park Wgc 104-104-97–305

Cindy Ortega, Foothills Wga 113-102-100–315