Arizona Mid-Am: Welle wins first

PAYSON, Ariz. (Sept. 28, 2008) – Paul Welle, of Scottsdale, shot a final round 1-over par 73 to easily capture his first Arizona Golf Association major with a four-shot victory over fellow Troon associate Charles Kingsbaker at the Arizona Mid-Amateur, played at The Golf Club at Chaparral Pines. Welle shot back-to-back even par 72 in the first two rounds and finished the three days at one-over 217.

“It’s just starting to set in,” said the 26-year-old Welle, playing in his first Mid-Amateur. “It’s a pretty big deal, the biggest tournament I’ve ever won. I didn’t try to think about it until it was nearly over. I had to pay attention to what I was doing on the course, because you can easily make a big number on any hole.”

Kingsbaker, 33, started the day two shots off the pace. With an up and down round that included two double bogeys, he recorded a three-over 75 to finish at five-over 221. David Bosley of Payson, who held the opening round lead and started the day tied for second with Kingsbaker, withdrew after the fifth hole with tendinitis in his elbow.

Tim Duffey of Anthem, the 2008 Arizona Publinks champion shot a two-over 74 to finished alone in third place at nine-over 225. Ken Kellaney, of Phoenix, the 2001 Arizona Mid-Amateur champion had his best round of the tournament recording an even par 72, one of only two posted on Sunday, to jump up to sole possession of fourth place at 12-over 228.

Welle, who relocated to Arizona from Minnesota six years ago, works in outside services at Talking Stick Golf Club. He didn’t start playing golf until he was in high school, but it was only when he moved to the Grand Canyon state that he really focused on the game and has turned his passion for the sport into a very successful competitive amateur career.

He opened up the round with back-to-back birdies, while Kingsbaker had the first of his two doubles following a bad swing on the second hole; the result was a six shot lead for Welle and one that was really never challenged during the round. Kingsbaker never got closer than three shots, despite three consecutive bogeys for Welle, starting on the seventh hole.

“Paul played great, really solid down the stretch,” Kingsbaker said. “I made four doubles over the course of three days and had that not happened it could have been a different story. I was six shots back after just four holes, and from that point on, I was just trying to play the golf course to get back to even par.”

Kingsbaker, 33, a graduate of Horizon High School in Scottsdale, played collegiately at Oregon State University and was three-time All Conference and an All-American in his junior year. He moved back to Arizona in 2003. Playing in just his second AGA tournament of the year, he recently paired up with Dean Hall and finished second at the Arizona Four Ball Championship.

“It’s not what I wanted to today and considering I’m just getting back into the competiveness of this, it’s okay,” Kingsbaker added. “The golf course was spectacular.”

Welle, who is ranked No. 3 in the AGA Performance Points standings recently picked up a victory at the Western Amateur and won the Mesa City Championship in April. His best finish in an AGA major championship this year was a tie for seventh at the Arizona Publinks Championship.

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