Homer’s Chris Morin is back on top at Kenai Golf Course.
From 2014 to 2016, Morin swept the two-day tournaments in Kenai — the Kenai Open and Donald R. Morgan Memorial Club Championship. Morin’s unprecedented dominance of six straight titles came to an end last season, when Max Dye swept both tournaments.
Morin then missed the Kenai Open in early August because he was playing in the State Amateur, but Sunday he rolled to a six-stroke victory in the two-day Morgan Memorial.
In order to win, Morin had to overcome a two-stroke deficit after Gordon Griffin fired a 2-over-par 74 on Saturday.
“Gordon had a 74 the day before and I was two strokes down,” Morin said. “It was good to get back on top.”
Last year, Dye fired a 7-over-par 151 to win the Morgan Memorial. It was the lowest score anybody could remember in that tournament, with Morin’s best during his six-tournament streak being a 155. Morin finished at 151 on Sunday.
“I’m not as concerned with the number,” he said. “I’m more concerned with whether I win or not.”
One of the Kenai Golf Course’s strongest defenses is wind, and usually if it is not windy, it is raining. Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of rain to start Sunday, golfers were treated to perfect scoring conditions.
It showed Saturday, with a remarkable six of the 15 players in the tournament in the 70s. Griffin was at 74, Rene Alvarez and Morin were at 76, Todd Eskelin was at 78, and Larry Jackson and Charlie Kahakauwila were at 79. Morin’s contenders peeled away quickly Sunday, with the Homer golfer already leading his closest pursuer by two strokes after a 1-over-par 37 on the front nine.
Morin was the only one who was able to back up that round Sunday. He had a 75 while Tom Reese, at 78, was the only other player in the 70s.
After Saturday’s round, Morin said he went back and replayed the bad shots in his head. Sunday, he avoided bad shots for the most part, with the exception being a pulled 3-wood of the tee on No. 17 that led to double bogey and kept his tournament score from creeping into the 140s.
Morin said he played poorly during the weekend at the State Amateur.
“It felt nice to get a few good rounds in,” he said.
Griffin and Alvarez tied for second at 157, while Eskelin was fourth at 158.
Alvarez had the top net score at 137, while Kahakauwila was second at 138, Bobby Bush was third at 139, Bill Davis was fourth at 140 and Reese was fifth at 142.
Saturday, Griffin took closest to the pin at No. 5, while Davis won at No. 9, John White won at No. 10 and Bush won at No. 14. Skins went to Morin, Jackson, Bush, Alvarez, Greg Matturro and Reese.
Sunday, the closest-to-the-pin winners were Kirk Hyman at Nos. 5 and 10, Pat Bowen at No. 9 and Griffin at No. 14. Skins went to Eskelin, Davis and Alvarez.
This week, Kenai hosts the Peninsula Cup, with best ball at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, alternate shot at 5:30 p.m. Friday and singles at 11 a.m. Sunday.
The event, which puts Kenai Golf Course against Birch Ridge Golf Course, was formerly known at the Walker Cup. The last time the event was played was in 2014, when Kenai won to take a 5-4-1 lead in the series.
Donald R. Morgan Memorial Club Championship
at Kenai Golf Course
Sat Sun Grs Net
Chris Morin 76 75 151 143
Gordon Griffin 78 83 157 145
Rene Alvarez 76 81 157 137
Todd Eskelin 78 80 158 144
Charlie Kahakauwila 79 83 162 138
Tom Reese 84 78 162 142
Bill Davis 81 83 164 140
Larry Jackson 79 89 168 146
Kirk Hyman 86 83 169 143
Mike Houghton 86 84 170 144
Bobby Bush 85 86 171 139
Chuck Ruppenthal 83 89 172 146
John White 91 94 185 157
Pat Bowen 100 92 192 156
Greg Matturro 98 102 200 162