As Sunday dawned, it looked like 54-hole leader Jim Herman would run away with it. He birdied the 2nd and 3rd holes of the round before crumbling on the back nine. He bogeyed the 12th before a birdie on 13 but his round turned on the 15th hole, dropping his approach in the water guarding the green and ending with a double bogey. Herman finished his Wichita Open shooting a 1-under 70 and tied for second.
"You play so well and you give it all away on just one shot," Herman said. "I'll build off it and go get'em again next week."
Three shots back heading into the final round, Jason Gore liked his chances on Sunday but he bogeyed three of the final holes of the round and appeared to injure his hand on the 11th tee box. He finished with a 2-over round of 73 and T-15 at 10-under par.
Justin Hicks came completely out of nowhere Saturday to get into contention and stayed the course Sunday, racking up five birdies and one bogey for a round of 67, finishing T-2 with Herman.
Hicks has changed his coaching this season and began working with a sports psychologist and it's paying dividends.
"Even though today was a bit of a grind and a battle, I found a way to enjoy myself out there," Hicks said. "We are just trying to have as much fun with it as we can and I think if we keep that motto going the rest of the year forward, we are going to be just fine."
Wittenberg actually had a chance to play on the PGA Tour this week at the Traveler's Championship in Cromwell Connecticut but opted to fulfill his Nationwide Tour duties. He now becomes the second Oklahoma State Cowboy product to win in Wichita, following Chris Tidland's victory in 2009.
"It's fun when you have some fans out there and supporting you," Wittenberg said. "I know the Cowboys are out there and yesterday was like summer in Stillwater with the wind."
The Open jumped everyone who made the cut up the money list but with the win, Wittenberg moves up to second on the money list with $240K in earnings this season.
"Hopefully I can keep moving forward for the rest of the year."
Casey Wittenberg used a late surge on the back nine to overcome leader Jim Herman and win the 2012 Wichita Open.
Wittenberg recorded six birdies in his final round with four of them coming on the back nine. The most critical was a birdie on 15 to pick up two strokes after Herman recorded a penalty and had to take a drop when he hit his second shot into the water. He finished with a total of 18 strokes under par.
Herman was the leader after round three and finishes tied for second at -16.