Dave Chelf sinks a short putt

Dave Chelf sinks a short putt during the Chaffee County Open Sunday at Salida Golf Club. Chelf tied for fourth in the championship flight.

John Alter of Crestone won the Chaffee County Open’s championship flight by a single stroke over the weekend, shooting a two-day gross score of 144 to take the title.

“It’s a big deal for me to win this,” he said. “It’s my first tournament win ever.”

Alter and Mike Cooper both shot a 72 Saturday to go into Sunday tied for first. Cooper then took the lead by two strokes after the front nine on Sunday.

“Today was quite the struggle,” Alter said Sunday. “I hit good shots that would end up in funny spots; it was a matter of grinding it out.”

The two were tied with four holes left, then the wind started blowing sideways and it started to rain. “On hole 15 it started (raining),” he said. “I stayed solid while everyone else started missing putts and chips.”

Alter, who is the golf pro, superintendent and general manager at Crestone’s Challenger Golf Course, said he was up just as much to compete as he was to network.

“I’m getting good somehow,” he said. “It’s my golf course; come see it.”

Rick Shovald finished third in the championship flight with a 148.

Brian Sharrar, Nick Lusero, Dave Chelf and Eric Moltz all shot a 150.

Moltz ended the tournament with maybe the best shot of the weekend, sinking an eagle from 97 yards out.

“It landed on the front of the green and kept tracking and tracking and went in,” Moltz said. “It was awesome.”

Moltz said he’s made three or four other eagles, but never on the 18th hole on a tournament Sunday.

In the first flight, Justin Clinton and Al Heidel needed a 37th hole to decide the winner. Clinton was two shots down heading into the final hole but tied things up at 158 when Heidel had to 3-putt.

Heidel, however, recovered on the playoff hole to finish ahead of Clinton and win the flight.

“I’m definitely proud of myself to battle back and go into a playoff,” Clinton said. “Our whole group was pretty tight, and actually the whole flight was pretty tight.”

Marc Martellaro and Lawrence Ramirez tied for third at 160 while Ron Mazzeo, Dave Malmquist and Joe Anderson all shot a 161.

In the second flight, Jon Chelf shot a 165 to take first, followed by Gene Heidel (168) and Roger Ward (172).

In the Witty Flight, which used an 80 percent handicap, Darryl Van Iwarden placed first with a 135, followed by Luis Marquez (146) and Don Hayes (149).

The tournament’s closest-to-the-pin winners were Russ Johnson and Alter on Saturday and Josh Bechtel and Dave Chelf on Sunday.

The tournament also had a lighted-ball long-drive contest Saturday in which players hit glow-in-the-dark balls as far as they could on hole No. 1, which was lined with glow sticks. Mazzeo smacked the ball 263 yards to win that competition.

“It was fun,” Mazzeo said. “There were a lot of good people playing in it.”