Over the last 35 years, the Pinto Bean Golf Tournament has produced several close finishes. Rarely has Cortez’s largest annual tournament been as exciting as it was this year, however.
Taking place at Conquistador Golf Course Aug. 16-17, the final round of this year’s Pinto Bean was a sight to behold as numerous players battled during a tense final round.
Among those in contention were Montezuma-Cortez High School graduates Chris Aiken and Jakob Rudosky, last year’s Pinto Bean champion, Curtis Garver and local resident Matthew Unrein.
After shooting rounds of 69 on Aug. 16, Rudosky, Aiken and Unrein entered the final round tied and determined to come out on top. It was Aiken however, who refused to yield, firing a final round 69 to shoot a combined total of 138 and win the tournament by one stroke.
“This year’s Pinto Bean was really fun,” said Aiken. “It almost felt like I was on tour. It was really tightly bunched after the first day. The final round tested my patience, but I was able to get it done.”
Asked what was going through his mind during the final round, Aiken said that he did his best to focus on one shot at a time despite the pressure-packed nature of every moment.
“Growing up, I always wanted to play in the (Pinto Bean) said Aiken. “My dad always played in it. To be able to win it was just awesome.”
Finishing second in the tournament with a combined total of 139 was Kermitt Barrett while Rudosky finished third, shooting a two-round score of 141. Garver and Unrien tied for fourth with combined totals of 142.
In addition to the exciting final round at this year’s Pinto Bean, a unique opening ceremony featuring Jack and Rodney Tanner chipping out of a new bunker on the 18th hole highlighted this year’s tournament.
According to Conquistador Golf Course professional Micah Rudosky, the bunker, which was designed to look like a pinto bean, was put in place with the help of the City of Cortez.
Shortly after hitting his ceremonial chip shot, Jack Tanner explained some of the things that make the Pinto Bean special.
“It’s just Cortez, Colorado,” said Tanner. “People like to come here. We have a great pro shop and a great venue here at the Elks. “It’s a working man’s tournament and people like to come here and have a good time.”
As always, this year’s Pinto Bean tournament featured a full field of 240 golfers. The annual tournament is scheduled to take place again next year.