Kenai Golf Course won the Walker Cup on Sunday in Kenai by defeating Birch Ridge 14 1-2 to 9 1-2.
Kenai won the Walker Cup on its home course for the first time in three tries. Birch Ridge still leads the overall series 3-2-1.
"We wanted to win it on our home course," Kenai captain Gordon Griffin said. "That was a big motivation for us."
The competition lasts three days. On Thursday, the teams tied at 3 in alternate shot. The big day was Friday, when Kenai won the best ball 5-1 to take an 8-4 lead into Sunday's 12 singles matches.
With such a big lead heading into Sunday, once it was clear Kenai wasn't getting routed in every match, it was clear the Walker Cup belonged to Kenai.
"We won some matches, they won some matches," Griffin said. "Nobody got any momentum going. It was really close."
Griffin said he learned a lot in his first year as captain and put those lessons to use this year.
"I was a little smarter in matching up the players," he said. "I paid more attention to the process than I did last year."
Griffin said he paid close attention this summer to which players play well together.
For example, he noticed Mark Griffin and Chris Murray play well together. Those two won best ball on Friday en route to being undefeated for the tournament. Mark Griffin was 3-0 while Murray was 2-0-1.
Gordon Griffin also said Mark Griffin, Murray and Truckee LeMay did a great service by providing protection against some of the young, long hitters from Birch Ridge, like Beau Forrest, Nolan Rose and Aaron Andrus.
"They were up to the challenge, and they were not intimidated by going up against the young guns from Soldotna," Griffin said.
With only six years in the books, the Walker Cup and its unique match-play style, mixed with rivalry, has quickly gained traction.
"As it continues to grow, it gets more important to each club," Griffin said. "All agree at both clubs that it's the most enjoyable, competitive event during the year."
Kenai 14 1-2, Birch Ridge 9 1-2
Chris Murray, K, pushed with Beau Forrest; Nolan Rose, BR, def. Tom Carver, 2 and 1; Mark Azzara, BR, def. Doug Jung, 5 and 3; Aaron Andrus, BR, def. John Dahlgren, 3 and 2; Todd Eskelin, K, def. Jeff Hetrick, 4 and 3; Chris Morin, K, def. Gary Stackhouse, 2-up; Paul Zimmerman, BR, def. Gordon Griffin, 1-up; Truckee LeMay, K, def. Mike Rose, 6 and 5; Mark Griffin, K, def. Mike Edwards, 5 and 3; Bob Sizemore, K, def. Mike Hollingsworth, 5 and 4; Rich Edwards, K, def. George Stein, 3 and 1; Mike Chenault, BR, def. Derek Kaufman, 3 and 2.
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