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Cortez’s Koehn Kuenzler qualifies for national golf event at Augusta

Koehn Kuenzler of Cortez has qualified for the Augusta National Drive, Chip, and Putt competition on April 2, 2023. (Courtesy photo)
8-year-old tops regional field in PGA Drive, Chip and Putt

The golf talent pool coming from Southwest Colorado seems to deepen with each passing year.

Local golf talent Koehn Kuenzler added his name to a list of golf standouts, as the 8-year-old took on the best junior golfers in the Southwest region and stood atop the podium of the PGA-sponsored Drive, Chip and Putt competition.

Held at Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, Kuenzler outlasted a field of 10 regional qualifiers to advance to Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia for the National Championship event. Kuenzler will be one of 10 regional qualifiers in the boys 7-9 age bracket to participate on one of the most hallowed courses in the world in April.

In his regional qualifier, Kuenzler used consistency over the three disciplines, besting the field in the chipping and finishing near the top in the driving and putting components to help him to an overall score of 104 points, edging his nearest competitor by eight.

To make it this far, Kuenzler had to make it through local and sub-regional qualifying events, in which he had three attempts at each of the three disciplines to try to pick up the best possible score.

Kuenzler took an interest in golf at a very young age.

According to his father, Zane, Koehn asked to play golf on his fifth birthday, a chilly day in November.

“It’s his birthday, during winter in Colorado, and he wants to go play golf,” Zane told Drive, Chip and Put. “And then he shoots something like 3-over par for nine holes.”

According to the article by Jeff Locke, Zane and his wife, Heidi, have not had to push Koehn to develop his golf skills. He first pushed his father to take him to a golf course ate age 2½ .

One of the most loyal golfers at Conquistador Golf Course in Cortez, Kuenzler looks to continue a rich tradition of golfers who have called the course their second home.

The National Drive, Chip, and Putt Championships will be competed April 2, 2023 in Augusta, Georgia, as champions in four different age brackets will vie for the title of national champion.

Ben Bradley contributed to this article.