Chris Murray overcame a seven-stroke deficit at the beginning of the day to win the two-day Donald R. Morgan Memorial Kenai Golf Association Fall Classic on Sunday at Kenai Golf Course.
Murray won the Morgan title in his first time playing the tournament. The event is held in memory of Donald R. Morgan. Morgan ran the course before his death in 2001. Morgan's parents, Dick and Shirley Morgan, brought the golfers cake on Saturday and also greeted the golfers.
After the first day of play, Truckee LeMay was in first place after shooting an ever-par 72, while Murray was in third after opening with a 79. Murray fired a 74 on Sunday to finish at 9-over 153, while LeMay had an 84 to finish at 156. Tommy Carver, who was in second entering the day, fired an 84 on Sunday to finish third at 152.
Despite the large deficit heading into today, Murray said he knew a victory was still possible. Last year at the Kenai Open, Murray just missed catching Rene Alvarez after entering the final day trailing by seven strokes.
"We play together a lot, so I know he has a few rounds of 80 in him," Murray said of LeMay. "I didn't want that to be the case today."
Instead, Murray envisioned LeMay shooting in the high 70s and Murray shooting about 70 to take the event.
Early in Sunday's round, it became clear LeMay would not repeat the ball-striking clinic he put on Saturday.
"I played with him (Saturday) and felt lucky I was only seven strokes down," Murray said. "He hit the ball better than anyone I've ever played with. If he makes a few putts, he shoots 66, 67 easy. If he makes every putt, he shoots a 62."
LeMay said that on Saturday, he had 12 putts inside 15 feet that he did not make.
"(Saturday) I was hitting the ball great and I couldn't make any putts," LeMay said. "Today, I couldn't find my rhythm and I couldn't make any putts."
After putting his drive in the fairway on the 355-yard, par-4 first hole, LeMay leaked his 9-iron and took double bogey. He would then bogey two of the next three holes.
"He got on the par train," LeMay said of Murray. "He parred everything. It was tough for me to hold him off."
Murray parred the first seven holes to cut LeMay's lead to three strokes. LeMay said he got some hope by parring the fifth through eighth holes. On the par-5 eighth, Murray pulled his tee ball left into the hazard for his only big mistake of the day.
Murray said he was fortunate to find his ball and have a shot out of the woods. He escaped No. 8 with a bogey to fall four behind, then parred the ninth, while LeMay had a double bogey, to cut the lead to two.
"After a double on nine, I thought, 'He's going to catch me now,'" LeMay said.
Murray drew even with LeMay after the par-4 15th hole. Murray bogeyed the hole for his second and final bogey of the day, but LeMay double bogeyed the hole.
"I didn't make any worse than bogey all day," Murray said. "That's what I was able to do and that's what Truckee wasn't able to do. That was the difference."
Both birdied No. 16 -- the lone birdie of the day for both -- to stay tied. Murray finished par-par, while LeMay finished double bogey-bogey. LeMay's double on No. 17 came after he pulled his tee shot and took an unplayable lie.
Murray said his short game carried him on Sunday. He hit nine greens in regulation, but when he missed a green he was able to get up and down. Murray said he didn't make a putt longer than 6 feet all day.
LeMay, a 2010 graduate of Kenai Central High School, will play golf this year for Green River Community College in the state of Washington. He said with that experience, he's hoping to come back and take the tournament next year.
LeMay took low net in the first flight at 144, while Todd Eskelin was second at 150 and Mark Griffin was third at 151. In the second flight, Bill Bushnell took low net at 149, while John Glidden was second at 150 and Jerry Norris was third at 152.
Closest to the pin on Saturday went to Ryan Hardy on No. 5, Joe Deveaux on No. 9, Mark Griffin on No. 10 and Murray on No. 14. Long drive went to LeMay. Closest to the pin on Sunday went to Greg Harrington on No. 5, Murray on No. 9, Alvarez on No. 10 and Eskelin on No 14. Murray had the closest second shot on No. 18.
Donald R. Morgan Memorial Kenai Golf Association Fall Classic
at Kenai Golf Course
Rd1 Rd2 Grs Net
Chris Murray 79 74 153 141
Truckee LeMay 72 84 156 144
Tommy Carver 78 84 162 152
Mark Griffin 83 80 163 151
Todd Eskelin 81 83 164 150
Doug Jung 82 83 165 153
Jim Bradford 84 82 166 152
Ken Liedes 81 86 167 153
Gordon Griffin 81 88 169 159
Rene Alvarez 84 85 169 157
Jesse Wade 91 89 180 162
Greg Harrington 94 88 182 162
Rd1 Rd2 Grs Net
Bill Bushnell 107 106 213 149
John Glidden 97 97 194 150
Jerry Norris 90 88 178 152
Ryan Hardy 106 104 210 152
Jeff Johns 95 99 194 156
Kirk Hyman 89 94 183 157
Mike Kebschull 94 92 186 158
Keith Stuart 91 97 188 160
Charlie Kahakauwila 93 95 188 162
Joe Deveaux 97 105 202 166
Andy Anderson 117 107 224 176
Peninsula Clarion ©2015. All Rights Reserved.