UCCS' Prater finishes strong
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Colin Prater makes a putt on the 10th green in match play July 23, 2015, at the Pikes Peak Amateur at Patty Jewett Golf Course. He shot a course-record 62 there Monday.

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Listen up, Colin Prater. The rest of us Koepka wannabes and weekend hacks would like a word.

Rule No. 1 of shooting a course record: It is never OK to downplay a 62. Not ever. Never.

“I actually wasn’t playing that great,” the ex-Palmer High and UCCS golfer said with a laugh.

With humble accomplishment comes a formal sentencing: From now on, whether he goes on to win the U.S. Amateur or fades into men’s league oblivion, he will be known by one title.

Colin Prater is the man who shot 62 at Patty Jewett Golf Course.

That’s right, 62 — the lowest official score on a course that's been open since 1898. And there were witnesses, as if the best player in the Pikes Peak region needed witnesses. Grady Castle was there. John Gorrell, whose course record Prater dunked, was there. Prater set a new low score at Patty Jewett, the third-oldest public track west of the Mississippi, with a birdie putt on 18. 

“He's by far the best player around here right now,” said Bill Martin, one of Jewett’s PGA pros.

"Guess it's time to give all these guys their plaques back," Martin said.

Prater deserves the props. Eight men had shot 63 at Jewett. None had shot 62 — until Colin came along. It was just last week Chris Lorck fired a 63 in a men’s association event to tie a course record that’s stood since 1991. The pro shop hadn’t found time to hang Lorck’s plaque before Prater hit 16 greens and needed only 26 putts to finish off his all-time round on Monday.

The real winner here is the Doherty High girls' team. The Spartans are getting Prater as their new coach, starting in the fall, and who’s going to question Mr. 62 on a proper putting stroke?

“Taking all those scorecards off the trophy case at Patty Jewett was pretty cool,” he said.

Prater’s parents live “three or four blocks away” from the first tee. (Home course knowledge is a real thing.) He’s also qualified for a U.S. Open sectional and will compete in the U.S. Amateur from Aug. 12-18 at Pinehurst Nos. 2 and 4. We’ll see how Pinehurst stacks up to Patty Jewett.

“The U.S. Am is the first week of school at Doherty,” said Prater, who’s also starting his new job as a science teacher. “My students in class might have a sub the first couple days.”

For the real ones in Colorado, course records at American landmarks like Overland Park and Patty Jewett might as well be sliding an arm into a green jacket at Augusta. It’s tough to top.

They also give you license to break Rule No. 2: no one wants to hear a play-by-play of your round.

We want a play-by-play of Colin Prater’s 62.

He birdied No. 1. Missed the green on 2... and chipped in for birdie. Parred No. 3 and birdied 4 and 5. “Started pretty well,” he said. “Got it to 4-under after 5.” Then the round went stagnant.

He bogeyed No. 9.

“Bad hole for me,” he said.

Parred 10, 11 and 12. The boost came at No. 13 when he bombed a drive, stuck a wedge from 155 yards and made the eagle putt. “Good momentum builder,” he said. He made par on No. 14 — the deep par-3 — before birdieing the final four holes for the magic number.

Prater caddied for MLB great John Smoltz last year at the U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor.

“I don't know if he had the best caddie," Prater said. "But he’s a really, really good player.”

Ditto for the man who shot 62 at Patty Jewett.

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

Sports columnist

Denver sports columnist for The Gazette

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