All the money

Lundahl, Contreras dominate skins game at Birch Ridge

It took 12 holes to decide a winner at the All Alaska Pro Skins Game on Monday at Birch Ridge Golf Course.


James Contreras of Anchorage and Rich Lundahl of Soldotna won the entire pot, putting their winnings at $4,500.

The tournament was a team skins game where each team member would alternate shots. The skins format is different from traditional stroke play. Each hole is worth a certain dollar amount and if a team gets the lowest score on a hole, they win the money. However, if there is a tie, the money carries on to the next hole.

The four teams pushed each hole until Contreras and Lundahl made par on the 355-yard, par-4 seventh hole, giving them $2,600 in skins.

Contreras, representing Anchorage Golf Course, had a clutch chip on the seventh hole to put the team in good position to take the skin.

"It was a good lie for the shot, it was a little bit uphill in the rough," Contreras said. "I had one like it on the hole before, so I had a practice run on hole six, it was nice for Richie to give me two tough shots."

Lundahl knew his partner would come through.

"James said to me, ‘Don't worry, I got this shot,'" Lundahl said. "It was great to hear."

Lundahl, representing Birch Ridge, sank the short putt that gave the team par for the hole, which was good enough since the other three teams had difficulty keeping their shots in play and wound up bogeying the hole.

"The course was playing tough, scores were high," Lundahl said. "I was 5-over after five today (in the pro-am earlier in the day), so I was real pleased with my grindage."

After regulation, the four teams moved on to playoff holes, and a team could only continue if it was able to tie the low score on the hole.

Birch Ridge Pro Aaron Dexheimer and Rob Nelson, assistant general manager at Eagleglen Golf Course in Anchorage, called it a day after the 10th hole.

George Collum, director of golf at Palmer Golf Course, and Brian Anderson, representing Moose Run Golf Course, were out after the 11th hole.

The 12th hole came down to Contreras, Lundahl, and the team of John Baker and Travis Jorgensen, both representing Settlers Bay Golf Course. The two teams were even, until Baker missed his putt and tapped in the "gimme" putt. During regular play, that was OK, but during playoff holes, that was against the regulations.

Baker and Jorgensen had to forfeit, giving Contreras and Lundahl the $1,900 in skins that were pushed from the eighth hole on.

Lundahl had a feeling he and his partner would fare well in the game.

"When we were in the tent and they were drawing names, I knew I was going to get paired with James," he said. "I had a real odd feeling, and I mentioned to James I thought we'd win this thing today.

"I didn't think we'd win all nine skins, but I just had a good feeling about James and I today."

Contreras has been playing in the skins game since the beginning, but this year is the first time he's been in the game with the team format.

"I love the tournament, it hasn't been nice to me lately, but I think it's all paid back now," Contreras said with a laugh.

In the pro-am earlier the day, Dexheimer took first place with a round of 67. Baker and Anderson tied for second with a score of 71. Lundahl and Collum tied for fourth with a round score of 72. Nelson took sixth place with a score of 74.

The pro-am was used to qualify pros for the skins game.

Dexheimer has won tournaments all over the state of Alaska in his eight years as a pro, but has never taken the pro-am title on his home course.

"I've won every tournament in Alaska, twice, I've never won this pro-am, which is crazy for me, because I play here every day, I have the course record here," he said. "I pretty much hit every fairway and just played to the pins I can play to make birdies."

"The greens were hard, but I had a good day."


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