Bomar's 2-under leads Chrysler Open

Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2003

In ideal golfing conditions Saturday at the Kenai Golf Course, Anchorage professional Billy Bomar shot a 2-under par 70 to take the one-day lead in the Kenai Chrysler Open.

Bomar had birdies on four holes to shoot a blistering 34 on the front nine, then played near flawless golf on the back to take a one-shot lead over Tony Grimes of Palmer. Bomar's only bogey on the back came on the par-3 10th hole. After that he reeled off eight consecutive holes of par or better.

Only three players managed par or below on the long, unpredictable Kenai course. One shot behind Grimes in third place going into today's final round is British Columbia pro Norm Jarvis, who shot an even-par 72.

Grimes said after his round that the key to having a good day at Kenai is doing what he did not making any mistakes.

"I had a real solid day," Grimes said. "I was never in trouble."

Grimes said the greens were tough but fair, and praised the course conditions, which many who golfed Saturday agreed may have been the best ever at Kenai. Temperatures reached the low-70s, and there was little wind to speak of throughout the day.

"The whole course from tee to green is better than it's ever been," Grimes said.

The former Kenai course record holder said he always seems to have good luck when he comes to the peninsula.

"I've actually had pretty good luck on this course," he said.

Another golfer who had luck on his side Saturday was Jeff Barnhart. Although not at the top of the leader board, Barnhart gave fans something to cheer about on the 18th green. After hitting his approach shot off the back of the two-tiered green, Barnhart jokingly asked a spectator if he'd give him $100 to make the twisting, downhill putt.

The spectator, frequent Kenai player Phil Stephenides, must have known something was up, however, as he declined to take Barnhart up on his offer. To the delight of the crowd, Barnhart then dropped a nifty putt into the cup for a birdie.

Afterward, it was unclear whether or not Stephenides should still have to put cash up for Barnhart's unlikely shot.

"You owe me, Phil," he said.

A large group of golfers is bunched behind the leaders going into today. At 73 is Jim Hennessey of Chandler, Ariz. Curt Zander and Peter Carriel finished at 74, followed by Louie Runge and Zac Gavlak at 75. Brian Anderson, Rob Nelson, Rich Lundahl, James Contreras, Keith Liedes and Aaron Dexheimer shot 76. All will be in the hunt Sunday for the $6,000 winner's check, as well as a piece of the $30,000 overall purse.

The bright sunshine Saturday was in stark contrast to last year's event, which saw cold, rainy conditions play havoc with the professional and amateur players alike. Lundahl, a former professional baseball player in the New York Mets organization, said it was nice to have the good weather, as the course challenges players enough without having to deal with wind and rain.

"The course was real challenging," Lundahl said. "It was real hard."

Despite shooting 6-over, Lundahl said playing golf in perfect weather made for a good day on the course.

"I love to come up to Alaska," he said. "It sure beats the 110-degree heat in Arizona."

Players were unable to bring out their drivers on most holes Saturday, as the tight fairways and jungle-esque rough put keeping the ball on the fairway at a premium. However, after the tournament concluded, golfers got a chance to really show what they could do in the long-drive competition.

Winning the amateur side of things was Soldotna's Tony Azzara, who beat out Billy Applewhite and Don Parker to claim the title of top gun.

"I hit that one good," the two-time Alaska Junior Golf Association champion said after unleashing a drive estimated to have gone somewhere around 280 yards into a stiff afternoon wind.

For the professionals, it came down to the last ball of the competition, when Anchorage's Trevis Kordus smacked a 300-plus yard bomb past Lundahl's shot on hole No. 8.

Kordus took home $750 for his big shot. After winning, he posed for pictures with Lundahl, who stands nearly a foot taller than the stocky Kordus.

"It was the last ball and the littlest guy," Kordus joked.

Kordus, who spends most of his time working on the North Slope, said winning the long-drive competition made coming down to Kenai more than worthwhile.

"That sure makes it easier to play tomorrow," he said.

Play in the Kenai Chrysler Open at the Kenai Golf Course gets under way today at 8 a.m., when the amateur flight begins.

Professionals will follow. Spectators are welcome, and admission is free to the tournament.

Kenai Chrysler Open

First round scores


Open division

Billy Bomar 70

Tony Grimes 71

Norm Jarvis 72

Jim Hennessey 73

Curt Zander 74

Peter Carriel 74

Zac Gavlak 75

Louie Runge 75

James Contreras 76

Rich Lundahl 76

Brian Anderson 76

Rob Nelson 76

Aaron Dexheimer 76

Keith Liedes 76

Mark Matarrese 77

Jeff Barnhart 77

Ken Liedes 78

Ryan Sparks 78

Tom Walsh 78

George Collum 78

Mark Bomar 79

Chris Wright 79

Trevis Kordus 80

John McBride 80

Paul Carriel 81

James Seal 81

Jeff Aufderheide 82

Joe Butler 83

Chris Sonnichsen 84

Billy Applewhite 84

Don Moock 84

Mark Dolejsi 85

Doug Jung 86

Bill Engberg 86

Eldon Harvey 89

Jim Bradford 91

Matt Mattarrese 91

Josh Lansing 92

Amateur division

Don Parker 82

Jesse Wade 83

Rom Reese 84

Bill Burtram 85

Mike Navarre 85

Mike Burns 86

Spencer Han 87

Dustin Jung 87

Lorne Smagge 88

Curtis Smith 90

Felix Martinez 90

Rene Alvarez 91

Mike Chenault 91

Steve Dexheimer 92

Eddie Sibolboro 92

Keith Stuart 94

Mike Koskinas 95

Bill Coghill 95

Kirk Hyman 96

Arnold VanHees 97

Norton Dablemont 97

Karl Liedes 98

Mike Kebschull 102

E.Z. Hoyez 102

Gary Katison 103

Wayne Cissell 109

John Baxter 117

Danny Navarre 118

Trey Miller 119

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