A year from now, Kevin Witte hopes to be playing professional golf. If that happens, the Pikes Peak Amateur will be back up for grabs.
But this year, with Witte in the field, it was a lopsided affair.
Witte defeated Ben Krueger 4 and 3 to claim the championship flight title in the 36-hole final Saturday at Patty Jewett Golf Course. The victory concludes a two-year stint in Colorado Springs for Witte that included a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title while at Colorado-Colorado Springs on the way to third-team All-America honors. He is about to finish the final summer class he needs to earn his degree in business and communications and then he'll return to his parents' home in Phoenix to embark on what he hopes will be a professional career on a mini tour and see how far he can climb.
"This is about the most fun I've had, I would say," said Witte of the six-day event.
To put into perspective how dominant Witte was, consider how good Krueger - his final victim - has been. Krueger, a 2010 Pine Creek graduate who plays at Northern Colorado, won the championship here last year, clinching the final match with eight holes remaining. Krueger then posted the best qualifying score this year and cruised to dominant victories in two of his first three matches, winning one 7 and 6 and another 8 and 7.
But Witte was just too consistent Saturday, as he had been throughout his march through some of the best youth golfers the area has produced in recent years. He started with a 4 and 3 win Wednesday over Coronado sophomore Isaac Petersilie. Witte then took care of Alex Kephart, a 2005 Liberty graduate who also played at UCCS, 5 and 3 in Thursday's second round. Recent Palmer grad Colin Prater, who will play this year at Mesa State, started his match against Witte by going 2-under par on the first four holes yet still trailed by two holes - as Witte opened with four birdies. Prater gave Witte his best match, losing 3 and 2 in Friday's semifinal.
On Saturday, Witte lost the first hole but quickly went 3-up after the first nine and 4-up after 18. His lead grew to six holes after Krueger posted a bogey on the 10th hole of the final 18, which was No. 1 on the Plains course. Krueger then briefly launched a comeback that included an eagle on No. 13 to pull back to within four holes.
On No. 15, with Krueger needing to win the hole to extend the match, Witte put his approach shot inches from the pin. Krueger conceded the birdie and the match.
Witte had only played Patty Jewett a handful of times during his time in Colorado Springs, which was perhaps reflected in his score over the event's two days of stroke play as he shot 150 to qualify as the No. 10 seed - Krueger, Prater and Kephart, by comparison, each shot in the upper 130s to earn the top three seeds.
The senior championship went to Steve Ivan for the second consecutive year, giving Ivan six overall titles (four in the regular division, two as a senior). His total victories are the most in the tournament's 66-year history.