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Jennifer Kupcho tuned up for her second trip to the U.S Women’s Open Golf Championship with another romp in the Colorado Women’s Golf Association’s Stroke Play Championship.
Kupcho, the 20-year-old from Westminster who just completed her sophomore season at Wake Forest, didn’t make the cut in the 2016 U.S. Open. She hopes to stick around for four rounds at this year’s tournament, which will be held July 13-16 at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
She claims she could have played better but walked off with her third consecutive CWGA Stroke Play title with 13-shot victory in the 54-hole tournament that was held June 19-21 at the Lone Tree Golf Club.
“I just wanted to come out and play good competition and then go to the big tournament,” she said. “I definitely took more chances in this kind of tournament but just came out and played my game.”
Kupcho, a two-time Class 4A state champion at Jefferson Academy, left all the golfers in the championship flight scrambling for runner-up honors as she became the first women in the past 20 years and the fifth player in 70 years of the tournament to win three consecutive titles.
And, none of her three Stroke Play victories have been close as she has won by 21, 19 and 13 strokes, so she wasn’t under much pressure from other golfers.
“It’s not that hard because all my high school career, that’s how it was,” added Kupcho who is the 11th-ranked women amateur golfer in the world. “I’m used to it and just go out and focus on my own game.”
Kupcho had seven birdies and two bogeys as she wrapped up the championship on June 21 with final round of 5-under-par 67 to go along with a 1-under-71 and a par 72 for a 54-hole total of 210.
In those three days she made 13 birdies, 34 pars and seven bogeys. She played the par 5 holes in -6 and the par 3s in -2, but was 2-over on the par 4 holes.
So maybe that’s why she insists she could have played better.
“I played the best that I could,” she said. “I was just playing my game, not focusing on the field. I played good in the final round but definitely could have played better the first two days. I struggled on the greens. A win is a win. But I definitely could have played better. I could have made more putts so that is something to work on.”
Kupcho was the runner-up at last month’s NCAA Division I championships and set a Wake Forest record with a season scoring average of 70.61.
Longmont’s Erin Sargent, a Silver Creek graduate and University of Wyoming sophomore-to-be, tied for second place with her Cowboys teammate Megan Knadler of Phoenix with 3-round totals of 7-over-par 223.
Mary Weinstein of Highlands Ranch, the 2016 Class 5A state champion at Regis Jesuit, scrambled to a fourth-place finish after finishing with a final round of 2-under par 70 by going 4-under on the back nine. Her score on the final 18 holes came after a 73 and 81 in the first two rounds.
“The second round was awful,” said Weinstein, who will be a sophomore at Regis University. “It was definitely one of those days. If you look on the course you will see probably 50 bunkers and I went in probably 49 of them (in the second round). And my putting was just not there.
“I’ve been putting pretty rough the past couple tournaments, so I went to see some professionals to fix my putting. I changed two days before the tournament started and started putting well on the first day, hit a big roadblock on the second day but got it back for the final round.”
Alexis Chan, a 2017 Rock Canyon graduate, won the second flight at 236 while Arvada’s Sue Hartwell captured the third flight by six strokes. Jean Miller of Arvada won by a stroke in the fourth flight.
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