Birch Ridge -- a more fitting name for Soldotna's golf course would be Buxton Ridge.
Carolyn and Paul Buxton won the men's and women's championship flights Sunday in the Peninsula Amateur at Birch Ridge.
"We were not married at a golf course," Carolyn said while her and Paul were being presented with their trophies by Birch Ridge owner Pat Cowan.
Carolyn entered day three of the 54-hole tournament with a 20-stroke lead. She appeared relaxed, but said that in golf no victory is ever assured.
"It can all fall apart in a tournament," she said.
Despite the pressure, Buxton said that she was happy to be out on the course.
"It is always fun to play with other women," she said.
Buxton's flight mate, Barb Winkler, said she enjoyed playing with Buxton, but thought the two were not well matched.
"I haven't played long," she said. "I have a bad neck."
Seven women played in the Peninsula Amateur. The low number disappointed Cowan. Further disappointment included the withdrawal of Lynne Reynolds.
Reynolds was Buxton's closest competitor, until a sting from a wasp created such swelling on her hand that she was unable to grip her club.
One man who had no trouble holding a club was Mo Redford. Redford's stamina helped him win a playoff round of sudden death for a second-place finish in the first flight.
"Patience and perseverance," he said. "I wore them down."
Redford said he gave it his best chasing first flight leader Mike Hollingsworth, but he was never able to come closer than the eight strokes that separated the two at the day's opening.
"I played Mutt and Jeff," Redford said. "I had a good front nine and a so-so back."
Redford said he hopes to duplicate his performance in the upcoming Peninsula Senior golf challenge.
"I don't know if I'll do any better, some of those seniors are good," he said.
While 17-year-old Nolan Rose may not be invited to the senior tournament, he is well liked at Birch Ridge.
"I play a lot out here. We all get along," Rose said.
Rose said he has a few friends his age who play golf, but he likes the solitude of the game.
"It's an individual sport," he said. "If you screw up, it's your fault."
Rose said he was not hitting the ball well on Sunday. This assessment could be argued because Rose did hit the ball straight enough to earn first place in the junior division and second in the championship flight.
"Nolan's improving," Paul Buxton said. "He's going to be good."
Buxton started playing golf before he was 10 years old; however, it was only within the last eight years that he started playing regularly.
Buxton's consistency off the tee and calculated, logical shots are most likely responsible for his victory, which came by eight strokes over Rose.
The battle in the championship flight was tight and heated. Five points separated the leaders at the day's start.
"I thought I would come here and play my game and I could beat this dentist," Rob Smithwick said about playing Buxton. "But I couldn't pull it out. It was an 'A' game against a 'C' game. He never missed a fairway, never missed a green. He was a machine. Unstoppable."
Smithwick joked that Buxton is the reason that last year's Peninsula Amateur champions did not compete.
"They were frightened. Spineless," Smithwick quipped. Buxton was eight strokes better than last year's champion.
Carolyn said that her husband is very competitive and has an interesting perspective on tournament play.
"You make it into a big deal in your mind," he said. "But try too hard, and you'll loose it."
Buxton's performance is testimony to his ability to accurately value the game of golf. He said his wife's mind was just as clear as his own on Sunday.
"We were at the top of our game."
Men's championship flight
Paul Buxton 74-78-76 -- 228
Nolan Rose 76-79-81 -- 236
Rob Smithwick 81-76-84 -- 241
Mike Chenault 86-84-82 -- 252
Matt Matarrese 84-84-86 -- 253
Gerald Winkler 84-83-88 -- 255
Joe Blanchard 80-84-92 -- 256
Tom Allison 87-89-88 -- 264
Bob Bird 84-96-94 -- 274
Women's championship flight
Carolyn Buxton 90-89-91 -- 270
Lisa Parker 104-100-94 -- 298
Barb Winkler 102-111-99 -- 316
Men's first flight
Mike Hollingsworth 83-81-95 -- 259
Bob Fenimore 88-87-87 -- 262
George Stein 89-87-86 -- 262
Mo Redford 93-83-86 -- 262
Scott Jackson 88-92-91 -- 271
Jay Kriner 89-96-87 -- 272
Mike Munger 94-92-90 -- 276
Dustin Jung 99-90-87 -- 276
John Davis 96-96-88 -- 280
Tony Azzara 86-93-108 -- 287
Dave Keating 100-101-88 -- 289
Josh Lansing 85-102-103 -- 290
Women's first flight
Helen Chenault 96-100-100 -- 196
Sharon Keating 111-107-102 -- 218
Teresa Connoley 103-99-96 -- 308
Men's second flight
Don McGhee 87-93-95 -- 275
Phil Turkington 97-98-96 -- 291
Bob Clapsaddle 99-98-98 -- 295
Dick Cockroft 105-91-104 -- 300
Ron Carlson 106-104-94 -- 304
Dave Stein 97-103-109 -- 309
Sam Best 106-105-109 -- 317
John Lansing 105-109-113 -- 325
Gary Dawkins 99-114-115 -- 338
Richard Atuk 120-102-109 -- 340
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