Valley Hi Golf Course is going to be the scene of one heck of a shootout on Labor Day.
A group of talented amateur golfers are log-jammed atop the leaderboard at the Colorado Springs City Championship, with 18 holes separating them from etching their name on the winner's trophy. Only three strokes separate the top seven golfers.
Former Valley Hi employee and current Cherokee Ridge assistant superintendent Cole Miller followed Saturday's 5-under-par 67 with a 1-under 71. He leads Air Force associate golf coach Chris Wilson by a stroke at 6 under. Miller birdied his final hole Sunday, No. 9, to break the tie at the top.
"The tees were a little different today, the course was set up pretty well, and it was a little tougher today," said Miller, who is playing in his first City Championship. "My goal for the day was to shoot 71 or lower and be under par and shoot red numbers, and I hit my goal. I've grown up playing with great golfers, and I've played a lot with some of these guys."
Wilson is excited to compete for the title, and he will be part of the final group that tees off from the first tee around 10:30 a.m.
"That's what we play for - that little feeling going down the stretch on the final day," said Wilson, who had four birdies and four bogeys Sunday. "Today, I made bogey with wedge three times, which is inexcusable. There's really good competition here, and all you can ask for is to just be in (the hunt)."
Former Colorado at Colorado Springs golfer Alex Kephart had six birdies Sunday en route to a 5-under 67 to climb within two strokes of the lead.
He is tied with Steve Galko, who carded a 4-under 68 in the second round, for third place.
"I figured I had to get it 4- or 5-under to get back in it," said Kephart, last year's runner-up who qualified for the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship this year. "I had to sleep on the lead last year, so I'll let somebody else have the stress of that while I get to rest easy and play from behind a little bit. I'm still right there."
Defending champion Michael Harrington, a six-time winner of the event, is at 3-under along with Michael Burns and former UCCS golfer Nick Vanetten. Senior flight leader Tom Roos turned in the round of the tournament, a 7-under 65, after notching five birdies and chipping in for eagle on the par-5 13. He leads Mark Bassett by two strokes at 9-under heading into the final 18.
"It's always fun when you shoot 65," Roos said. "I was able to hit it at the pins today, and they stayed close."