Olinger leads Mesa trio, wins at Colorado West Amateur
Grant Olinger just couldn’t wrap up any of his three rounds without some major problems.
But that was OK because in the end, the end result was perfectly fine with the Colorado Mesa golfer.
Olinger shot a final round even-par 71 to win the Major Mortgage Colorado West Amateur Championship at Bookcliff Country Club on Sunday.
Olinger’s three-day total of 209 was good for a two-stroke victory over Trevor McKune and six strokes better than Kyler Smith, who finished third.
It’s the third consecutive year that a Mesa player has won the title.
“It’s a good feeling, especially with a couple of CMU guys winning the last two years,” Olinger said.
The top three placers are all current or former CMU players with Smith coming in as the defending champ.
The three CMU players were also partnered together for the final round.
Olinger, who held the first day lead after shooting 68, was tied with McKune coming into the final day. Olinger said he didn’t feel any pressure when he teed off on a windy morning.
“No, not really, I was playing with a bunch of friends, so there wasn’t too much stress,” he said with a smile.
For McKune, it was a frustrating day. After not playing last year, he was hoping to get his name on the Paul Brown Trophy in his last amateur tournament.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating, I’ve had a lot of experience leading or tied for the lead heading into the last round and just haven’t been able to get it done,” he said.
McKune, who recently graduated from CMU and plans to move to the professional ranks, shot the low round of the tournament on Friday to give himself a shot at the title. He wasn’t able to come close to matching Friday’s 66, and finished with a 2-over par 73 to end at 211.
“My ball striking just wasn’t good today,” he said. “Today, I didn’t really give myself any chance at birdies at all.”
After the first two holes, Olinger took the lead he never relinquished. It was an early three-stroke swing. Olinger birdied the second hole while McKune had a double bogey.
“I started with double (bogey) on the second hole, and that kinda set the tone for my round for the day,” McKune said. “But I sorta started to grind my way back into it. But I never really got anything going.”
Both golfers had somewhat roller-coaster rounds, and on the third hole, McKune got a stroke back when he birdied the hole and Olinger bogeyed.
By the end of the front nine, Olinger, who will be a junior at CMU in the fall, had a two-stroke lead and was one under for the tournament.
On the back nine, both golfers had birdies on their first hole, then McKune bogeyed the next hole. It was that kind of day for McKune.
Olinger sank a birdie then drained another birdie to start the back nine. That was followed by four pars and he had a three-stroke lead heading into the final four holes.
But just like the first two rounds, the final stretch tormented Olinger.
“I had it going for a while, two-under through 13 or 14, and I bogeyed the last couple holes coming in,” he said, then smiled. “Three rounds in a row.”
McKune finished with two birdies, and Olinger only had three.
Olinger was the only golfer to shoot three rounds of par or better in the tournament.
It was a tough final round for many players.
Smith’s 70 was the best round of the day, matching the round shot by Joey Saad. Only three golfers shot par or better on the day.
Smith, who had a 74 on the first day was battling to make up ground on the final two days, and finished at 215.
The same was true for Saad, who finished 70-70 after opening with a 77. He finished fourth at 217.
Chris Aiken was fifth at 219, finishing with a 73 after posing a 68 on Friday.
Former champion Tristan Rohrbaugh was sixth at 221.
Gary Carpendale won the first flight title, edging Paul Brown 226-224.
In the second flight, Bill Schroeder finished with a 223 to win by 19 strokes.
Stan Cole was a four-stroke winner in the third flight and Bud Bower won the fourth flight by three strokes. Justin Hemmer claimed the fifth flight title.