2015 CWGA Match Play champ Spiranac featured on cover of Golf Digest
by Gary Baines
It’s amazing how life can change in the course of one year.
Just ask former Coloradan Paige Spiranac.
A year ago this spring, Spiranac was wrapping up her college golf career at San Diego State. Her college finale was an NCAA regional tournament in St. George Utah, where the University of Colorado and University of Denver women’s teams also competed.
Earlier that season, Spiranac was part of the San Diego State team that won the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic in Fort Collins.
Then in July of last year, Spiranac returned to her former home state to compete in the 100th CWGA Match Play at Raccoon Creek Golf Course. There, she earned the distinction of winning the centennial event, prevailing in the title match 2 and 1 over CU’s Brittany Fan. Spiranac was 9 under par for the 35 holes of the match. It was her second CWGA championship, following her victory in the 2010 Junior Stroke Play.
Since her CWGA win last summer (her trophy photo is below), to say that Spiranac has become a social media sensation would be a collosal understatement.
Check out these figures: Spiranac has about 672,000 followers on Instagram, 85,000 on Twitter, and almost 120,000 likes on her Facebook page.
With good looks, those kind of social media numbers, and some golf ability, the next — and most notable — step was announced this week. Spiranac, featured in futuristic-looking garb, is the cover shot for the May issue of Golf Digest magazine, making the cover even before LPGA teenage sensation Lydia Ko has.
The Spiranac-related cover headline in the magazine’s “Innovators and Influencers” issue is “Social Star Paige Spiranac Leads the Innovators and Influencers of 2016”.
David Owen, a contributing editor for Golf Digest, said about Spiranac: “All by herself, she has made golf seem at least slightly interesting to a significant number of people who never used to think about it at all.”
For her part, Spiranac seemed a bit taken aback by the cover treatment, even though, as she noted on Twitter, she’s “simply a model” for the feature piece in the magazine.
“Thank you @GolfDigest for putting me on the cover. I’m so honored and still can’t believe it,” she wrote on Twitter.
While some LPGA Tour players wish Ko — the top-ranked player in women’s golf at age 18 — would be featured instead on the front of Golf Digest, Ko herself didn’t seem concerned. “@PaigeSpiranac you looked absolutely amazing on the cover!!!” she said Wednesday on Twitter.
Spiranac, 23, once lived in Monument but last resided in Colorado about six years ago. During her high school years, she split time between Arizona and Colorado and was home-schooled. She didn’t play high school golf here, though she did win some CJGA events, including the 2006 Tournament of Champions, where current PGA Tour player Mark Hubbard prevailed on the boys side. As a golf professional who aspires to compete on the LPGA Tour, she calls San Diego and Scottsdale, Ariz., her homes.