By Ed Mate, CGA Executive Director/CEO
month the CGA crowned two of the newest champions in the state’s oldest
tournaments. Since moving to the new
combined men’s and women’s format in the state Match Play Championship we have
now “co-crowned” champions at Colorado Golf Club (2021), The Broadmoor (2022)
and Columbine Country Club (2023). Each
year has offered a wide variety of champions on both the men’s and women’s
championships—but none more striking than 2023.
On the men’s side of the draw,
39-year old Nick Nosewicz of Aurora won for the second time and became the
oldest champion since Gary Longfellow who won at age 45 in 1987. On the women’s side one of the youngest
champions ever, 16-year old Pimpisa Rubrong of Thailand was the last player
The CGA Match Play and Women’s
Match Play both date back well over 100 years and the 2023 champions provide a
lens into how much competitive amateur golf has both changed, and remained the
same over the past century.
Founded in 1901 the CGA Match Play
Championship legitimized the CGA as the entity that officially “awarded the
cups” when it was created for that purpose in 1915. One year later, in 1916, the Colorado Women’s
Golf Association was formed and followed suit with its first official state
championship. Over the years, both
championships had different names, different match play formats and different
entry eligibility criteria.
In prior years both of these
historic championships were limited to Colorado residents. That policy was changed many decades ago to allow
anyone who is a member of the CGA to compete.
As time has gone on, the champions of both of these tournaments have
become younger and younger as the “career amateur” has been overtaken by a
youth movement of talented high school and college-aged players. This is what makes the 2023 Match Play
champions so illustrative of how much things have changed and stayed the
For most of its early history, Hall
of Fame players like Babe Lind, Les Fowler, Claude Wright, Gary Longfellow,
Jimmy Vickers, Lou North, Bob Clark, Sr., and others dominated the
championship. On the women’s side it was
players like Phyllis Buchanan, Joan Birkland, Carol Flenniken, and Marcia
Bailey who frequented the victory stand.
Historically, winners have almost always been Colorado residents with
deep Colorado roots.
As time has gone on, champions have
gotten younger and younger and while residents of Colorado continue to be the
default, it has become more common for “visitors” to the state to steal the
Nick Nosewicz is a throwback to the
early days when career amateurs in their late 30s and early 40s were the
stalwarts of amateur golf. He also comes
from a well-known golfing family largely based in Colorado. Most notably, his grandfather,
Ed Nosewicz Sr., won four CGA Senior Match Play titles and was inducted into
the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2005.
The women’s champion, on the other
hand, embodies all that has changed in the CGA’s marquee amateur event. Pimpisa
Rubrong of Thailand was playing in Colorado for the very first time. At 16-years of age, she is here to help
prepare her for the upcoming U.S. Girls’ Junior to be played this month at
Eisenhower Golf Club. Her dominating
performance underscores the global talent in golf—particularly on the women’s
side of the game. Pimpisa hails from a
country that recently won the LPGA’s International Crown. It is unlikely that she will ever compete in
another CGA amateur event, but how cool is it that Colorado will always have
this global connection to a young player who might someday win tournaments on
the global stage.
So as we etch two more names onto our oldest
trophies, we learn once again that as much as things change, they also stay the