Moore, Austin, Gilbreth will represent Colorado, CWGA in final USGA Women’s State Team Championship
by Gary Baines
This month’s USGA Women’s State Team Championship will be the final one ever held, as the USGA announced earlier this year that it was retiring its State Team Championships for both men and women.
The men held their final one last fall, and the women take a final bow Sept. 26-28 at The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe, N.M.
Ironically, the 12th and last USGA Women’s State Team Championship will be the first one for Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Christie Austin.
“I’ve been an alternate in previous years but this will be my first and only, since it’s the last one ever,” the former USGA Executive Committee member said in a recent email.
Austin will captain the three-person squad that will represent Colorado and the CWGA in New Mexico. The CWGA recently named its final team, which features some of the top female amateurs in the state, not including active college golfers as they aren’t allowed by the NCAA.
Joining Austin on the Colorado squad are another Colorado Golf Hall of Famer, Janet Moore, as well as the reigning CWGA Match Play champion Emily Gilbreth, who moved to Colorado from Houston in April. Gilbreth, like Austin, will be making her USGA Women’s State Team debut, while Moore is headed for her third appearance in the event.
At the State Team Championship, each day the best two scores for each state count toward the team total. All 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, are eligible to field teams. All competitors much reside in the state or territory for which they play, which is why current Mesa, Ariz., resident Kim Eaton, a Colorado Golf Hall of Famer, will represent Arizona.
The field will be cut to the low 21 teams and ties after 36 holes, plus any individual who is within five strokes of the lead.
Here’s a brief look at each of Colorado’s representatives for this year’s championship:
— Christie Austin of Denver: Austin, who didn’t take up golf until age 26, recently won her 18th CWGA title, this one with Kathy West in the CWGA Brassie. Moore has been Austin’s teammate for many of those championships. … She’s won two CWGA Senior Stroke Plays, one Senior Match Play, six Brassies, six Mashies, two Chapmans and one Mixed. … This summer, Austin qualified again for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur and she’s a first alternate for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. … She’s a two-time CWGA Senior Player of the Year. … She won the 2010 Women’s Trans National Golf Association Senior Four-Ball with Eaton.
— Emily Gilbreth of Denver: The recent college graduate won this summer’s Match Play in her CWGA championship debut, defeating Maddie Kern 6 and 4 in the scheduled 36-hole final. … She played college golf at the University of Houston, where she was part of the school’s first women’s golf team. Three years after Houston added a women’s golf program, it won a conference championship. Individually, she won a college title in March 2016. … Recently, she competed in stage I of LPGA Tour Q-school, finishing 144th out of a field of 361ß, though she didn’t advance to stage II.
— Janet Moore of Centennial: After advancing to the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and USGA Women’s State Team this year, Moore has qualified for — or be named to — a total of 25 USGA championships. That includes three U.S. Women’s Amateurs. … The Mashie title she won with Susie Roh in June was believed to be Moore’s 21st CWGA championship. The former University of Arizona golfer captured the CWGA Stroke Play title five times in the 1990s, including four in a row.
In 2015, the last time the USGA Women’s State Team was conducted, Colorado finished 32nd with its then-all-teenager team of Jaclyn Murray, Mary Weinstein and Delaney Elliott.
Colorado finished sixth in the 2013 USGA Women’s State Team, matching the state’s best showing ever, first accomplished in 2009. The 2013 team included Jennifer Kupcho, Hannah Wood and Melissa Martin.
The USGA Women’s State Team trophy awarded to the champions is named after Judy Bell of Colorado Springs, the first female president in the history of the USGA.