The healing of the shoulder can wait until winter. Homer’s Chris Morin has golf tournaments to win.
Morin followed up his victory in the Donald R. Morgan club championship on Aug. 16 and 17 with a win in the Kenai Open on Saturday and Sunday at Kenai Golf Course.
Morin had a two-day total of 14-over-par 158 to defeat Chris Murray by two strokes. Greg Harrington and Gordon Griffin tied for third at 166.
“My shoulder has been hurting my swing,” Morin said. “I’m going to have to work on my swing.
“I can’t stop playing golf. I will just heal over the winter. There’s no time for injury right now.”
Morin said he normally plays a slice or draw, but lately the compensations he has made for the injury have him playing a hook.
But he has still been winning tournaments thanks to his short game and a tried-and-true mental strategy.
“I’ve been putting and chipping really well,” Morin said.
A good deal of that is because Morin hits the Homer Golf Course three to six days a week. The nine-hole, par-3 course has holes ranging from 140 yards to 58 yards, so Morin’s short game gets an intensive workout on a daily basis.
“A quick round there takes an hour and a half,” he said. “It’s like going for a workout. It is a workout, walking briskly up and down the hills.”
Morin’s mental strategy was to focus on each shot and not worry about where he was sitting on the leaderboard.
The strategy allowed Morin to nail a clutch, tourney-clinching birdie on No. 18 after losing a six-stroke lead to Murray over just six holes.
After firing a 79 on Saturday, Morin started Sunday with a one-shot lead on Murray.
Morin then played the front nine in 2-over-par 38 to take a three-shot lead into the back nine.
That lead grew to five shots after the par-3 No. 10, when Murray’s tee ball got buried under the lip of the bunker, leading to a double bogey. Murray also bogeyed the par-3 Nos. 9 and 14 after hitting his tee shot in the sand.
Morin then birdied the par-5 11th for a six-shot lead over Murray. But Morin would play the next six holes at 7-over-par to allow Murray to tie him with a par at the par-4 17th.
“It went back and forth all day,” Murray said. “It was fun.”
At the par-4 18th, both Murray and Morin put their tee balls 136 yards from the green. The pin sat on the front of the green, but a large gorge separates the golfers from the green.
Murray fired first.
“I tried to kill a wedge,” he said.
He came up short and his ball trickled back down into the gorge.
Morin said he did not know how much was on the line with his shot because he wasn’t keeping track of his score in relation to Murray.
“I knew it was kind of close,” he said. “I saw that I was in front of him and that was my hunch. I thought I had him by a couple.”
He chose a 9-iron and eased it onto the green.
Murray chipped onto the green and had his 15-foot par putt lip out. Morin nailed his downhill, 15-foot birdie putt to clinch the tournament.
“Again, it was the one-stroke-at-a-time mentality,” he said. “I read it right and put it right on line.”
Morin will play in the Bomar Cup at Palmer Golf Course on Saturday and Sunday. He may try and slip in another Kenai Golf Association event, then he will play in Homer as long as he can.
“I’ll play as many days as I can until it’s frozen or snowing,” he said.
John Glidden won the net title with a 147, while Gary Early was second at 148, Harrington was third at 148 and Morin was fourth at 150.
at Kenai Golf Course (Par 72)
Players Sa Su Grs Net
Chris Morin 79 79 158 150
Chris Murray 80 80 160 152
Greg Harrington 83 83 166 148
Gordon Griffin 82 84 166 150
Gary Early 83 85 168 148
Rene Alvarez 85 83 168 150
Michael Houghton 89 83 172 154
Mark Griffin 86 88 174 154
Chuck Rupenthal 89 87 176 154
Kirk Hyman 88 90 178 158
Dave Litchfield 88 91 179 153
Ken Liedes 86 96 182 164
Doug Jung 92 91 183 157
Joe Deveaux 96 92 188 162
John Glidden 97 98 195 147
Demie Byram 101 100 201 151
Bill Davis WD
Aaron Cooper WD
Skip Dove WD
Mike Fell WD