In a field that features an LPGA future star, a Denver Broncos kicker and the grandson of one of the greatest players of all-time, the Colorado kids held their own.
Doherty girls golf coach and Palmer High School alum Colin Prater leads the field of Colorado high school golf alum playing in the Colorado Open as amateurs. He shot a 7-under-par 65 to head into the clubhouse in a tie for fourth place at the event.
Regis Jesuit's Calvin McCoy - a current University of Denver player - carded a 67 to get inside the top 15 as of Thursday afternoon. Prater, McCoy, Lakewood alum Griffin Barela and Highlands Ranch's Kyle Pearson were all comfortably under par after the first round. Barela (a University of Wisconsin player) and Pearson (Colorado Mesa University) both shot 68.
Prater is coming off a win at the CGA's Colorado Match Play and started his day at the Colorado Open on the 10th hole. He made three birdies through his first nine holes and four birdies on his second nine.
He went 3-under on a four-hole stretch beginning on No. 4 and was bogey-free all day. McCoy was also bogey-free on his day and played the back nine at 4-under, tied for the second best effort for the day.
Perhaps the most notable entrant into the even is Jefferson Academy's Jennifer Kupcho. She claimed the title at the Colorado Women's Open which will go down as her first professional win. She was invited back to Green Valley Ranch Golf Club for this week's event.
She made a birdie on No. 2 and got to 2-under before making bogey on No. 7 and No. 8. She was paired with her brother, Steven. The elder Kupcho also played at Jefferson Academy and placed fourth at the 2010 Class 3A state championship.
Fairview's Brennan Dolan and Silver Creek's Jackson Solem finished their days at 2-under. Eaglecrest grad and 2017 5A champion Davis Bryant started his round by going 2-under on the front nine.
Bryant made the cut at last year's Colorado Open and finished at 20-under which put him in a tie for 20th. His college teammate AJ Ott, a Fort Collins grad, finished last year as the low amateur at 11-under.
The second round of the tournament will take place on Friday with Bryant, Ott and those players who teed off in the afternoon taking to the course early. Prater and McCoy will be among those teeing off later in the day.