By Gary Baines – 12/3/2020
This year, no AJGA tournaments — some of the best regional and national competitions for junior golfers — were conducted in Colorado.
Next year, barring the unforeseen, there will be three, which may be a record for the Centennial State.
The AJGA recently released its full schedule for 2021, and tournaments are scheduled in Westminster, Aspen and Montrose.
It will be the first AJGA event in Montrose, and the first since 2012 in Aspen. The AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior was held for five straight years (2015-19, the last three in Westminster) before both it and the AJGA Aspen Junior All-Star were canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19 safety concerns.
Here are the 2021 dates and sites for the Colorado events:
— AJGA Aspen Junior All-Star, Aspen Golf Club, June 8-11 (qualifier June 7)
— AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior, Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster, June 14-17 (qualifier June 13)
— AJGA Montrose Junior, The Bridges Golf & Country Club, Aug. 2-5 (qualifier Aug. 1)
The Aspen event is limited to players 12-15, while the Westminster and Montrose stops are open-age junior tournaments, for players 18 and under who haven’t yet started college.
The new Montrose tournament came about with considerable community support. Montrose High School has been very formidable in the boys state ranks in recent years. MHS golfers have won the last three 4A state high school individual titles and the Indians have captured three of the last four 4A state team championships.
In any case, the Montrose tournament will give far-western Colorado junior golfers an AJGA event on their home turf.
“It’s another great opportunity for our Colorado kids to have a home game,” said Ashley Barnhart, the CGA’s managing director of golf operations.
As for the Aspen AJGA tournament, it had a long run that started in the 1990s and continued through 2012, after which it was discontinued. But now it’s back.
Meanwhile, the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior will be held later in the year than it ever has — but only by a week or two. That event has produced three champions who are Colorado residents — Hailey Schalk (2017), Dillon Stewart (2018) and Jack Hughes (2019).
Irwin himself — a World Golf Hall of Famer who has won three U.S. Opens and a record 45 events on PGA Tour Champions — has made personal appearances during tournament week a couple of times, conducting clinics on each occasion. After its debut tournament in 2015, the Hale Irwin Colorado Junior was named the AJGA’s “Newcomer of the Year.”
For the entire 2021 AJGA schedule, CLICK HERE.