It’s been a wonderful week for the Soldotna golf community. Bill “The Thrill” Engberg, the fearless leader of the Birch Ridge Junior Golf Team, led 13 miniature duffers up to Anchorage to compete in the Alaska State Junior Championship at Eagleglen Golf Course on Monday and Tuesday. The group of kids represented 26 percent of the entire state field! That’s a fantastic number.
We had two State Champions in the group. Jake Eubank won the boys 16-and-up division with a two day total of 163. Jake had the low round of the tournament on Monday with a 77 providing an eight-shot lead heading into the final round. Jake is also an employee of the golf course so we’re especially proud of his accomplishment! Anika Richards won the girls 10-and-under division with rounds of 62-63 to win by seven strokes. I’m personally very proud of Anika having worked extensively with her over the past two summers. In fact, in a rare moment of intelligence, I posted a video clip on the golf courses Facebook page on July 15, 2012 of Anika at the driving range. The headline? Future Alaska State Champion! I didn’t know she would win state in her first attempt but I do know golf talent when it’s swinging in front of me and she’s got it. Anika can be as good as she wants to be. In the girls 11-13 division Danica Schmidt finished second with a two day total of 105. Katelin Richards (Anika’s sister) finished third posting a 107 and Ali Schmidt (Danica’s twin sister) finished fourth at 117. Other participants included Cody “Little Mickelson” Nye, Brock “Yes I can” Kant, Shane “Future’s Bright” Sundberg, Tyler “Battleship” Yamada, Nick “Can I Have a Hotdog” Beeson, River “I Rarely Play Golf but When I do I Play” Calloway, Max “The Intimidator” Dye, and Carter “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” Nelson.
We have a great group of kids out at Birch Ridge. They represented our community well. Tournament hosts applauded our groups behavior, knowledge of the rules, and golf etiquette. A lot of folks have been involved in returning our junior program to this level in recent years. Far too many to mention in this space but I want to acknowledge Bob Sizemore, the Stein family, Tom Walsh, Bill Engberg, Aaron Dexheimer, Tony Azzara, Eddie & Teresa Sibolboro, Pat & Myrna Cowan, Steve Horn and Lisa Parker, plus all the members of the Birch Ridge Golf Association Board for their contributions over the past few years. I also want to thank the parents who have been bringing their kids out the golf course this summer. We haven’t had this many kids out here this consistently in years. We can all be very proud of these kids.
Riveting Senior League Action
Enough talk about all the wonderful miniature duffers we have roaming the course, let’s talk about the really old duffers! 17 Dapper Dandies trudged out to the golf course Monday morning for scintillating senior on senior action. Pat McElroy crushed the competition with a net 29 to take home senior glory. Sid “Vicious” Cox was closest to at the sixth and Earl “The Pearl” Matthis hit his shot near the hole at the eighth. John “The Last DJ” Davis rock and rolled his putt into the cup for the long putt on nine.
Tuesday Morning Ladies League
The lovely ladies of Birch Ridge were back in action Tuesday morning. The best score on the two hardest holes belonged to Dee “State Champion Grandma” Richards. Susan Jelsma won by taking more putts than any other golfer. I’m very confused by the ladies scoring system at this point, and Chiya “Pet” Bazan won closest to honors.
Tuesday Night Couples
Darell Jelsma and his glowing wife Susan paired beautifully to capture couples supremacy Tuesday evening under the cloudy conditions at Birch Ridge. The dazzling duo posted a net 28 in a Menage-a-Trois format. Gary Dawkins and Lori Riggs-Bishop finished in a second-place tie with Mike Andrus and Rosetta “Stone” Jeter.
Golf Joke of the Week
Nick and Jim head out for a quick round of golf. Since they are short on time they decide to play nine holes.
Nick says to Jim, “Let’s say we make the time worthwhile, at least for one of us, and spot $5 on the lowest score for the day.”
Jim agrees. After the eighth hole, Jim is ahead by one stroke, but slices his ball into the rough on the ninth.
“Help me find my ball, you look over there,” he says to Nick.
After five minutes, neither has had any luck, and since a lost ball carries a two-stroke penalty, Jim pulls a ball from his pocket and tosses it to the ground.
“I’ve found my ball!” he announces triumphantly.
Nick looks at him forlornly, “After all the years we’ve been friends, you’d cheat me on golf for a measly five bucks?”
“What do you mean cheat? I found my ball sitting right here!”
“And a liar, too!” Nick says with amazement.
“I’ll have you know I’ve been standing on your ball for the last five minutes!”