Coloradan Jessica Mason claims title in prestigious Women’s Western Junior
By Gary Baines – 6/24/2022
If a golf tournament can be judged, at least in part, by the stature of its champions, the Women’s Western Junior is pretty darned prestigious.
Among its winners are big names — both in general and in Colorado golf.
There’s Nancy Lopez (1972, ’73 and ’74), Cristie Kerr (1994), JoAnne Gunderson Carner (1955) and Carol Mann (1958), among many others. And Colorado Golf Hall of Famers who have won the event include Barbara McIntire (1952), Carol Sorenson Flenniken (1959) and Lauren Howe (1976).
And, as of Friday, another player with strong Colorado ties earned a spot on the list of WWJ champs: Jessica Mason of Westminster.
Mason, winner of the Colorado Junior PGA and the 4A girls state high school title in 2021, added a victory in a big-time national junior event by prevailing in the match play final on Friday in Frankfort, Ill.
“What an amazing week,” Mason said on Twitter. “@WWGAGOLF Junior Amateur! Prestwick Country Club was an amazing host and tough test and I was extremely fortunate to win against some great players. I am honored to be a part of the great history of this event.”
The Holy Family High School graduate and incoming Pomona Pitzer (Claremont, Calif.) golfer won two matches on Friday, including a back-and-forth final over Lisa Copeland, of Naperville, Ill.
Mason, 18, drained a 30-foot putt on the 19th hole of the title match to prevail in the WWJ, which was being held for the 95th time.
“There was a lot of break,” Mason said on WomensWesternJunior.com. “As it was heading there, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this has a chance. If I hit it hard enough, it’s in.’ I really didn’t think I was going to make that putt.”
Mason had to endure a teeter-totter of a final match in which she was 1 down after 7, 2 up after 12, 1 down after 17 and tied after 18 thanks to winning the last hole of regulation with an up-and-down for par.
Earlier Friday, Mason defeated stroke-play medalist Addison Klonowski 1 up in the semifinals.
All told, the WWJ featured two rounds of stroke-play qualifying, with the top 16 players moving into the single-elimination match-play bracket. Prior to Friday, Mason had won her matches 1 up and 5 and 3.
This year, the WWJ was celebrating the 50th anniversary of World Golf Hall of Famer Lopez’s first victory in the event.
“She obviously was a great player on the LPGA Tour,” Mason said. “It’s kind of cool that I could share that with her, and have my name on the same trophy as her.”
Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Ed Oldham serves as Mason’s swing instructor.
For all the results from the Women’s Western Junior, CLICK HERE.
About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was voted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2021. Email: ColoradoGolfJournal@mac.com)