Colorado Stroke Play: Defending champ shares lead
DENVER, Colo. (Aug. 9, 2013) -- On a day when three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin attended the CGA Stroke Play Championship 50 years after winning the event for the first of three times, defending champion Steven Kupcho moved into a share of the lead with John Ahern.

Irwin, the former University of Colorado athlete who won the Stroke Play in 1963, '64 and '65, was at Pinehurst Country Club in south Denver watching his son Steve compete in the 77th Stroke Play. Steve Irwin, the 2004 CGA Match Play winner, shares 18th place at the halfway point at Pinehurst following rounds of 72-73 for a 5-over-par 145 total.

Kupcho, of CommonGround Golf Course, made three straight birdies on the back nine (his front) Friday and shot a 3-under-par 67 in his title defense. The University of Northern Colorado golfer stands at 3-under 137 for 36 holes. Also at that figure is Ahern, a Colorado School of Mines golfer who plays out of Bear Creek Golf Club. The former 4A state high school champion recorded six birdies in firing a 4-under 66 on Tuesday.

Kupcho and Ahern split the major CGA junior championships in 2011, with Kupcho winning the Junior Stroke Play and Ahern the Junior Match Play.

First round co-leaders Brendan Connolly of the Ridge at Castle Pines North and Minkyu Jeon of the Meadows Golf Club shot 71s Friday and dropped a stroke off the pace at 138.

Another co-leader from Thursday, Nathaniel Goddard of Ptarmigan Country Club, is the only other player still under par as a 72 Friday left him in fifth place at 139.

A total of 45 players -- everyone at 11-over 151 or better -- survived the 36-hole cut. Play will continue through Sunday.

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