Kenai Golf Course takes 3rd straight Walker Cup

Host Kenai Golf Course won its third-straight Walker Cup on Sunday to take a 5-4-1 lead in the all-time series against Birch Ridge Golf Course.

Kenai won 11 of the 12 singles matches to win the three-day event 20 1-2 to 3 1-2. Kenai had won alternate shot on Thursday 3 1-2 to 2 1-2 before taking all six of Friday’s best-ball matches.

Kenai captain Tommy Carver said experience is paying off for his squad.
“We’ve got this team that has played a lot of Walker Cups together,” he said. “It’s getting to the point where it doesn’t matter who matches up together.

“This year it ticked. It was really smooth.”

Carver did say Mike Houghton, Joe Deveaux and Aaron Cooper played their first Walker Cups for Kenai and did a great job.

Birch Ridge also had trouble fielding a full squad Friday and Sunday. Friday, nine of the needed 12 showed up, while Sunday 10 of the needed 12 were there.

“We just had a lot of guys out of town, or with company, or fishing and working,” Birch Ridge captain Tom Walsh said.

Walsh said changing the time of year the Walker Cup is held is being looked at.

“For the first two or three years, we had success with a lot of young kids,” Walsh said. “Now all those kids have gone to school or are working.

“I hope we can keep this going. I think it’s great.”

Houghton and Craig Jung picked up the forfeits Sunday. Kenai’s victories were Chris Morin over Jesse Scott 6 and 4, Gilbert Arellano over Tyler Yamada 6 and 5, Chris Murray over Max Dye 4 and 3, Todd Eskelin over Nick Beeson 7 and 5, John Dahlgren over Paul Zimmerman 4 and 3, Doug Jung over Mike Hollingsworth 2 and 1, Rene Alvarez over Kevin Downs 4 and 3, Bob Sizemore over Pedro McCall 2 and 1, and Greg Harrington over Dell Hoagland 6 and 4.

CJ Henley got the singles victory for Birch Ridge, topping Gordon Griffin 1-up.

“Everybody kept the ball in the fairway,” Carver said. “I didn’t see anybody overswinging like you sometimes see in competition. Everybody played their own game and it worked out.”

Walsh said his team’s MVP was Pedro McCall. He had to play best ball by himself Friday and then took Sizemore to 17 holes Sunday.

With Kenai leading the all-time series by just one, Carver said nobody at the course is getting too comfortable.

“They’ve got great players over there as well,” he said. “We thank them for coming out and look forward to next year.

“It’s a fun event and we want to keep it going.”

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