By Tod Leonard
Photo by Matt Roberts
There was neither the atmosphere nor the prestige that goes with playing and winning at Augusta National Golf Club, but the circumstance was still tremendously meaningful to Jennifer Kupcho.
The golfer who captured the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019 won her first pro title on Friday, taking the CoBank Colorado Women’s Open by three shots over two-time LPGA champion Carlotta Ciganda.
A Colorado native who was playing in front of a small group of family and freinds, Kupcho shot 67-65-68 at Green Valley Ranch in Denver. The $150,000 purse is among the largest in women’s golf outside of the LPGA and Symetra tours, and Kupcho took home $50,000.
"Honestly, it's crazy to just be back competing," Kupcho, 23, told Denver’s 9News. "I was a little nervous coming down the stretch and my game probably was not ready for that, but it's really cool to pull it off."
Kupcho, the 2018 NCAA individual champion from Wake Forest, earned her LPGA card through qualifying school in 2018 and in her rookie season of 2019 posted three top 10s, with earnings of $546,812. She contended deep into a major, tying for second in the Evian Championship last July.
Before the LPGA shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kupcho got in just one start, in the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, where she tied for 19th.
Kupcho’s victory followed a triumph earlier in the week by another LPGA player, Celine Boutier, in the Women’s Texas Open.