Carver cruises to Kenai Open crown

Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010

Tommy Carver compiled a two-day total of 10-over-par 154 to win the Kenai Open on Saturday and Sunday at the Kenai Golf Course.

Doug Jung finished second at 160, while John Dahlgren was third at 161.

Carver fired a 77 on the first day of the tournament to take a two-stroke lead over Dahlgren. Jung and Mike Azzara both had 80s on the first day.

Although Carver won the tournament with a comfortable cushion, he wasn't above chalking up the victory to a bit of luck.

"I had some good bounces," said Carver, who won the Kenai Open for the first time. "On shots where there would typically be bad bounces, I had some bounces go my way."

Carver said his biggest stroke of fortune came on the par-4, 397-yard 13th hole Sunday. The 5-wood is the most trusty club in Carver's bag, but he used that club to top his tee shot.

"It never went more than 6 feet off the ground," he said.

That left him behind an island of trees 250 yards away from the pin. Not only did the island of trees lie between Carver and the green, but a big water hazard sat 40 yards behind the trees as well.

A low-hanging branch meant that Carver could not use his 3-wood, so he decided to hit his driver off the deck.

"I just wanted to make sure I got it under the tree branch," Carver said. "I figured anywhere across the water was good enough."

How about across the water 10 feet from the green? That's where Carver's ball ended up. He got up and down for an unlikely par.

"That was probably my luckiest shot of the day," Carver said of his fairway drive.

After avoiding that trouble, Carver had a big enough cushion that he was able to bogey the 17th hole and double bogey the 18th hole and still coast to victory.

In addition to fortunate bounces, Carver attributed his rock-solid 77s to a grip change he made recently. All season long, Carver said he has struggled with his long irons. That's resulted in scores from the mid-70s to the high 80s.

"I'm not shaking when I'm standing over the ball with a long iron anymore," he said. "Before, I had no idea where the ball was going. I'd do anything I could to avoid those clubs."

Carver said the Kenai Open was a great way to end the competitive golf season. In a summer that featured a lot of rain and cool temperatures, golfers were treated to two sunny days with just a slight breeze.

At the same time, the signs of all the summer rain were still evident.

"I've been playing here since the day this course opened and I've never seen it in better shape," Carver said.

He said all the rain, plus timely groundskeeping led by co-owners Gordon and Debbie Griffin, have resulted in great conditions.

Dahlgren took low net in First Flight at 148, while Dave Kerkvliet was second at 145 and Jung was third at 148. Bill Bushnell won Second Flight low net at 140, while Noel Widmayer was second at 141 and Kirk Hyman was third at 142.

On Saturday, Mark Griffin had three First Flight skins, while Ken Liedes had two, and Rich Edwards and John Dahlgren had one each. Sunday in the First Flight saw Chris Morin take three, while Rene Alvarez and Dahlgren each had one.

In the Second Flight, Keith Stasek and Hyman each had a skin on Saturday. On Sunday, Mike Azzara, Charlie Kahakauwila and Hyman had Second Flight skins.

Kenai Open

Saturday, Sunday

at Kenai Golf Course

Par 72

Sat Sun Net Grs

1st Flight

Tommy Carver 77 77 144 154

Doug Jung 80 80 148 160

John Dahlgren 79 82 145 161

Gordon Griffin 83 81 152 164

Rich Edwards 83 81 152 164

Rene Alvarez 81 84 153 165

Chris Morin 85 80 151 165

Dave Kerkvliet 86 79 145 165

Mark Azzara 80 88 150 168

Ken Liedes 85 84 153 169

Mark Griffin 87 82 159 169

Chris Murray 85 84 161 169

Jim Bradford 83 91 158 174

2nd Flight

Bill Bushnell 105 101 140 206

Noel Widmayer 88 85 141 173

Kirk Hyman 85 85 142 170

Andy Anderson 103 95 145 198

Charlie Rehder 89 87 148 176

Sid Cox 97 90 151 187

Keith Stasek 89 93 152 182

Mike Azzara 83 91 152 174

John Glidden 102 96 154 198

Jesse Wade 89 88 155 177

Chuck Ruppenthal 89 92 157 181

Charlie Kahakauwila 89 96 157 185

Joe Deveaux 96 95 157 191

Ryan Hardy 109 110 161 219 Mike Houghton 97 100 169 197

Jeff Jones 130 122 212 252

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