Jordan Jennings of Montrose looks pretty good wearing green.
Jennings will play golf for Colorado State University beginning next season in Fort Collins. He committed to the Rams’ nationally ranked, NCAA D-I golf program last year and was scheduled to have had a celebratory signing ceremony at Montrose High School. Then it was pushed to a reception at The Bridges.
Then after three quarantines and COVID diagnosis with his family members, all the public hoorah faded. Too, as a member of the Montrose High School basketball team, Jennings was involved in another sport. The feeling was: the heck with it, let’s take some photos in the house in the new distinctive CSU garb and put 2020 in the rearview. Such is life in the pandemic.
Yet in many ways, it’s been a terrific senior year for Jennings at MHS.
He won the individual state medalist honors at the 4A championship in October at Colorado Springs. The Colorado High School Activities Association named him Player of the Year. He led the MHS golf team to 10 victories, including the regional championship title for the fifth straight year. Jennings came from two shots behind the first-round leader and carded a three-under par 68 to win the championship. His two-day total (76-68—144) was four strokes ahead of the field.
As a member of the MHS golf team, Jennings played in four state tournaments; the teams won three championships. (The 2020 Indians finished third in the state 4A tournament.) Jennings was all state three times and had a four-year scoring average of 72.7. Notable as well is how Jennings was an academic all stater three times; he’s in the top 20 of his graduating class with a 3.86 grade point average. He was a two-time Western Colorado Junior Champion.
So, CSU came calling.
The school and the golfer were on “each other’s radar,” Jennings said Tuesday morning, and he wanted to play there. “I’ve been tracking Jordan’s development for four years. He’s a wonderful young man who knows about being part of a team,” said Rams’ head golf coach Christian Newton, in a story published on the CSU website. “With access to our first-class facilities, the sky is the limit for him.”
Jennings will join another recent Rams signee, Christoph Bleir of Linz, Austria, who is currently ranked 106th among world amateur golfers. Linz is also a member of Austria’s Men’s National Team. They’ve connected as friends and will room together.
Jennings plans to play in three state amateur events in the summer and several American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) events. As state champion, he’s exempted from having to qualify for some of those tournaments.
The Rams golf team is perennially ranked in the top 25 schools. At one time in 2019, CSU was ranked No. 5. The program has also produced PGA Tour professionals, including Martin Laird. Laird has won more than $19 million over a 14-year career as a tour player and four PGA titles, most recently in Las Vegas.
“I’m going to try to get into the CSU business school,” said Jennings of his future plans in education.
In as far as the forthcoming golf season in Fort Collins, Jennings said he’s ready. He knows his strengths – attitude and ball striking – and knows where he’s struggled: the short game. Jennings recalls how he practiced his putting prior to the state tournament. “I timed it right,” he said. “I was putting really well in Colorado Springs.” Indeed. His final round 68 included just 27 putts.
Jennings also knows how his family — he’s the son of Ty and Heather Jennings — and hometown have factored into his success and into the next step of his life. After winning the state medalist title on Oct. 5-6, he turned 18 a day later. “Some friends decorated our home with ‘welcome home’ signage,” said Jennings said with a laugh. The sign read: “Home of Jordan Jennings, State Champion.”
He notes how golf, basketball and the value of education have life lessons. Being on a team, playing the ball where it lies; count all the strokes. Being mentally strong. Paying attention in class.
“I’ve learned from the coaching staff and my parents how golf can put you in great positions,” said Jennings. “I can’t thank my parents enough for enabling me to play at these different levels.”