The Rocky Mountain Open was born in 1939. Hosted in Western Colorado, 60 amateurs and professionals came together to compete at Lincoln Park, battling it out over 54 holes in two days. With the support of the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and Chet Enstrom, one of the founders of Enstrom Candies, the Rocky Mountain Open was a success and was held again the next year, and every year since. The Rocky Mountain Open has become the longest continually running annual golf tournament west of the Mississippi, and 2019 will be the tournament's 81st year.
Held in the beautiful landscape of Grand Junction complemented by a challenging course, it didn't take long for the RMO to start getting national attention. By the early 1940s, just a few years after the very first tournament, professional golfers from across the country, coast to coast, were meeting to test their swings at this beautifully made desert course.
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Throughout the years, golf legends have left their mark on the Rocky Mountain Open, helping to shape its legacy as a serious tournament. Mildred Zaharias, an Olympic athlete who took home two gold medals in track and field, came in third place as an amateur in 1946 and returned to play in the pro flight in 1950. U.S Open winner Orville Moody took home the title in 1975 while local pro, Harold Sommers made winning the RMO a family tradition, with both his sons claiming titles as well.
Today, the Rocky Mountain Open continues to be held in Grand Junction. Over 200 pros and amateurs descend on western Colorado to play spectacular courses. The purse has grown from $500 to $70,000, while Grand Junction Staple Enstrom Candies remains a proud supporter of this event.
In August 2019, golfers will tee off on Grand Junction's Tiara Rado course, set to the stunning backdrop of the Colorado National Monument where red rock canyons surround immaculate greens. The green grass, shady trees, and ponds throughout the course create a desert oasis. With views like these, it takes real talent not to be distracted by the striking surroundings.
As talent in the golf arena continually improves, 2019 promises to be one of the best years yet. Over four days of competition, including the return of the popular 2-day, four-ball, allowing an amateur and pro to team up and the lowest score for each hole counts for both players. While the tournament initially cost one dollar to watch in 1939, it soon became free for spectators and remains open for all to enjoy, making it a fun community event.
While the Rocky Mountain Open attracts athletes from across the country, it is all about community. Rocky Mountain Open supports the community through the local Western Colorado Community College by providing college scholarships to local high school golfers.
Whether you’re an avid golfer or have never teed off before, come out to Tiara Rado, August 22-25, 2019 to support a Grand Junction tradition over 80 years in the making. To learn more about this Western Colorado Classic, visit GolfGrandJunction.com