Cory Gillespie is dialed in at the right time.
A week after the 2016 Durango High School graduate won the 36-hole Durango Amateur Championship golf tournament at Hillcrest Golf Club after a stunning 6-under-par 65 in the final round, Gillespie kept it rolling in Montrose with another tournament victory.
This time, it was another familiar track at The Bridges Golf & Country Club, a course Gillespie played numerous times during his high school career for the Demons. On Monday, he shot a 2-under 69 to win the Colorado Golf Association qualifier event to earn a spot in the 120th Colorado Match Play Championship.
“I’m feeling really good right now,” Gillespie said. “I have felt mentally stronger than I’ve ever been. I’ve stopped worrying so much about my golf swing and have focused more on the mental aspect of staying positive and staying healthy. It’s coming through for me.”
The top-five players qualified for the Colorado Match Play Championship. Gillespie was the only player in the field to break par. He finished four shots better than Xan Anderson of Colorado Mesa University.
Ryne Scholl of Breckenridge and Jack Hughes of Aspen tied for third at 4-over 75, while Cortez’s John Gross, Montrose’s Dawson Hussong and Montrose’s Glen-Michael Mihavetz tied for fifth at 6-over 78. Eben Harrell of Durango tied for 10th at 10-over 81.
Gillespie said the course played short at 6,500 yards. That allowed him to play a lot of 3-iron shots off the tee and leave his driver in the bag.
After nine holes, he had a two-shot lead, and he hit only one driver on a short par-5 the entire back-nine.
“The course was playing short, so the grounds crew put out some really tough pin locations on every green,” Gillespie said. “That’s why so many people struggled with it. My whole thought process was to hit the middle of each green. If the putts go in, they go in. If they don’t, fine. But I wasn’t going to put myself in trouble going for a pin I shouldn’t.
“Off the tee, I was hitting those little Tiger Woods stinger shots down the middle of the fairway. They would roll out nice, and I don’t miss the fairway much with that shot.”
Gillespie, a senior at NCAA Division III LeTourneau University in Texas, is highly motivated to make his Colorado Match Play Championship debut when the tournament is held June 15-19 at Blackstone Country Club in Aurora.
“I have a little chip on my shoulder going into it,” Gillespie said. “I have qualified for it before, but the tournament exempted a couple of players who had not qualified and they booted me out of it. This time, I went into the qualifier really wanting to win the tournament to leave no doubts of actually playing in it this year.”