As the champion of the 2018 U.S. Senior Open emerged from the press center at The Broadmoor Hall on Sunday evening, a deer was chewing on the vegetation outside.

The Broadmoor – where the deer and the good golfers play.

No antelope were spotted, but 134,000 humanoids showed up for the golf tournament the past week.

Forgive us, David Toms, but the longest-running five-star resort, celebrating the centennial of its opening, was the real winner.

Is this heaven? No, it’s The Broadmoor. And the USGA’s Senior Open will return in 2025.

More Broadmoor.

“I absolutely guarantee you that I will be back well before that, with many family members, and I will enjoy playing this golf course.”

So said Jerry Kelly, who should have been drowning his sorrow in a beer, or 12, after giving up a lead he held after the first three rounds – and losing by one meager stroke because his putt from off the green on No. 18 pulled up a couple of feet short.

“I love Colorado,” said Kelly, the happiest loser on earth Sunday. “My son’s going to school in Boulder (at CU). I mean, we’re so close to buying a place out here, but now we’re going to have to decide between Colorado Springs and Boulder and Denver. ... Yeah, I’ll be back.”

Lee Janzen, who tied for 10th, said in the men’s locker room that he’s returning soon – with his family for a vacation at The Broadmoor. Rocco Mediate went fly fishing just before the tournament at The Broadmoor’s fishing camp. And Toms, who survived a late five-way tie at the top of the leaderboard, said he had never seen The Broadmoor East and surrounding environs, but he certainly will be visiting again very often.

“In fact, what I thought about over that last putt (perhaps the longest two-foot putt in the history of senior golf) that I had on 18 was that year (1999) that I won The International (at Castle Pines Golf Club) I had a two-putt to win.

“I had a downhill right to-to-left breaking putt just like I had (Sunday). And I actually made it that year.”

The titlist said he loves to ski in Vail and visit the mountains in the state during the summer. “I see what (The Broadmoor) is all about now, and I look forward to coming back.”

Toms wasn’t the only pro who has experienced success at The International and The Broadmoor. Janzen won the now-defunct tournament up the road, and Davis Love III finished first twice at Castle Pines. They tied for 10th, and Tom Pernice Jr., who also earned a victory in The International, tied for 12th.

All, especially Toms, are high altitude aficionados.

Hold it, and they will come.

If The Broadmoor were to host a major tournament for the men, women, seniors and amateurs every year, the world would beat a path to the Penrose Palace.

Except for Fred Couples, who hates playing in paradise.

Brandt Jobe said he was thrilled to be back in Colorado and playing in front of his family, friends and fans. Jobe, who grew up in the Denver suburbs in the 1970s, had a chance on Sunday, but ended up at one-under par for the four rounds. As a teenager at Kent Denver High School, he decided in 1978 — while watching the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills — to switch from baseball to golf. He finished runner-up one year in The International.

Four different players – Toms, Kelly, Tim Petrovic and the lovable Paul Goydos – were ahead of the field at various junctures Sunday afternoon, and when there was a quintet equal during the 5 o’clock happy hour, it seemed as though a playoff would be inevitable and welcomed by the crowds clapping on the grounds and the rich folks shaking their jewelry on the verandas.

However, Goydos, in a subdued shirt for once, bogeyed the last two holes.

“I win if it’s a 70-hole tournament, but it actually is 72 holes,” he said.

After Kelly went bogey-bogey on 11-12, he couldn’t make a birdie putt the rest of the way.

Petrovic did extract a rare three on 18, but ran out of holes. And the others faded before the sun did.

David Toms was the Last Man Standing and Exhaling.

A deer materialized to congratulate him.

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