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Birch Ridge Report: Bonjour from Birch Ridge

Posted: Thursday, July 08, 2004

Have you been watching Lance Armstrong on his road trip to Paris? Mon dieu, non? After years of French lessons, usually all I remember is combien vous dois-je, and je le prends, which translates to (and you would know this if you knew me) how much is it and I'll take it.

What does this bit of drivel have to do with golf, you may ask? Not one thing. After falling off my bike this morning, I realized I should stick with golf. So grip it, rip it, and read on.

Clean off your clubs and spikes, grab your family and head out to Birch Ridge for the popular Family Affair Golf Tournament Saturday. This event will feature two-person teams composed of family members with at least one generation separating them, e.g., father and son, mother and daughter, grandfather and granddaughter you get the picture.

All proceeds from the tourney will be used to support the Junior Golf Program here at Birch Ridge. Noon Friday is the sign-up deadline (that would be tomorrow). You'll be called Friday evening with Saturday's tee time. Fees are $50 a person. Formats will be Scotch twosome (holes one through six), scramble (holes seven through 12) and best ball (holes 13 through 18). This is a great time for that family bonding that we sometimes miss in the rush of summer's company and salmon runs.

The fourth annual Birch Ridge Golf Course Pro-Am and eighth annual Wells Fargo Alaska All Alaskan Pro Skins Game are slated for Monday. (Even the title should bring you out in droves.) The pro-am segment will be a shotgun start at noon, with the awards barbecue to follow at 5 p.m.

Wells Fargo's skins game should commence around 6:30 p.m. Pro's fees are $100; amateurs are $75. All amateurs wishing to participate in the pro-am and you know who you are need to sign up at the Birch Ridge pro shop by 9 p.m. Friday. Amateurs will be assigned to a pro on a first come, first serve basis.

This well-received event started in 1996 and has been going strong ever since. For those of us who are too shy to play, it's still a great chance to walk the course while cheering on our favorites; may even learn a thing or two. For who will be playing in the tourney and will be in the area on Sunday, a reception will be held at the Cowan residence on the golf course at 6:30 p.m.

Our Birch Ridge Juniors beat out the Kenai Juniors for the fourth year in the recently held Junior Ryder Cup, albeit the Kenai program is maturing and competition is growing stiffer each year.

This event was started in 2001 by Kenai pro Bill Engberg and Birch Ridge's Tom Walsh. These two deserve a hearty handshake on a job well done; our juniors have gone on to glowing success in competitions, as well as to statewide and nationwide colleges and universities. The following juniors will soon, too, be off and running: Ju Kim, Zac Cowan, Taylor Jackson, Aaron Andrus, Keaton Andrus, Matt Vasilie, Heather Paxton and Brennan Jackson. Congrats to all.

And speaking of pros ... our own Tom Walsh shot and tied his course record this July 4 with a score of 63. (Yes, that's for 18 holes; you're confusing my nine-hole score.) Matt Matarrese happened to be with him on both occasions must be a good luck charm, what? (Owner Pat Cowan strutted around the same day with a 36 for his best nine of the year. After learning that Tom was able to do that and better with two bogies, Pat became unpuffed. Good effort.)

Our Men of Wednesday Evenings are still going strong. Winning team members for the last day of the month in June (otherwise known as "Big Wednesday") were Phil Christensen, Pat McElroy, Darrel Jelsma and Bob Sizemore; second-placers were Don McGhee, Joe Blanchard, Steve Dexheimer and Jerry Norris. Dexheimer won closest-to on hole six, as did Scott Kempf for hole eight. Long drive winnings went to Caleb Sizemore (Little Size?) and pure birdie with an eagle on hole one kudos went to George Stein.

Monday morning seniors played Tuesday this week (confusing I know, but with seniority come flexibility). Longest putt and closest-to on hole eight congrats go to Jo Briscoe; likewise to Ray Hamby for hole six. Chiya Bazan beat out all with a low net score of 32.

That same Tuesday saw the A.M. Ladies out early. Winning team members Jan Stenga, Jane Tongen and Barb Vaccariello celebrated. Closest-to on hole six was Kathy Nielsen; longest drive was Ms. Vaccariello. Next week's formats will be nicely jumbled with three holes of best ball, three of scramble and three with alternate shots.

Upcoming events that can't be missed: July 15 is the sixth annual Birch Ridge Golf Association Golf Tournament; July 17 is the 31st Anniversary (second annual) Par 3 Tourney; July 22-23 is the Peninsula Senior Amateur Tournament.

Guess I'll bandage my shin and put my bike away fro now. Je vous revoir sur le dos neuf!



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