Wind storm creates some excitement after RMO pro-am

Former Grand Junction mayor Bruce Hill hits a shot out of a sand trap on the 18th hole at Tiara Rado Golf Course on Thursday during the Enstrom Rocky Mountain Open Pro-Am. The three-round tournament begins today at Tiara Rado and Bookcliff Country Club.

There were plenty of birdies and a little electricity.

Shortly after play finished Thursday afternoon in the 73rd annual Enstrom Rocky Mountain Open Pro-am, the wind picked up and created some excitement that was unmatched on the golf course.

The wind blew so hard the power lines in the parking lot crossed. Friction and light sparked and caused the clubhouse lights to flicker on and off.

The Grand Junction Fire Department arrived and closed the parking lot, forcing several players eating dinner to stay put until Xcel Energy arrived to address the problem. The fire department allowed patrons unwilling to wait to leave through a service road along the golf course.

The power lines had the attention of the people in the clubhouse, including Enstrom owner Doug Simons.

Enstrom Candies has sponsored the tournament for nine years.

“When the tournament was floundering a little bit, the Western Colorado Golf Foundation was just getting going,” Simons said. “They came to us and it just seemed like a really good match with the history of Chet Enstrom. For us, this is a big deal.

“I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be the title sponsor of the oldest golf tournament in Colorado.”

Chet Enstrom, grandfather of Enstrom co-owner Jamee Simons, was an avid golfer and an instrumental part in starting the tournament in 1939. Then, 60 players participated.

The tournament expanded in 2001 to fund college scholarships for Western Colorado high school golfers.

Now, there are 200 players competing for a $70,000 purse.

“We did because of the history of the tournament with Chet Enstrom,” Simons said. “He started this in the 1930s. He was an avid golfer up until his death in 1993.”

The tournament is even more special this year to the Simones as Enstrom Candies celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The pro-am field included 29 teams with one pro and three amateurs on each team.

The pro-am team of Monte and Taylor Montgomery, Stacy Millard and Mike Pilling took first place with a score of 23-under-par 119. They won by three strokes over the team of Doug Rohrbaugh, Keith Humerickhouse, Bob Hall and Shane Polley.

Monte Montgomery shot a 67, but was two strokes behind the best pro score of the day. That belonged to four players — Trent Romann, Clay Ogden, Doug Rohrbaugh and Richard Gaona — who all carded a 6-under-par 65.

The Rocky Mountain Open officially gets started with the first round today. The first tee time is set for 8 a.m. at both Bookcliff Country Club and Tiara Rado Golf Course.


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