The six teams from the Kenai Golf Course made a big statement Friday evening at their own venue on the second day of the 10th annual Walker Cup.
All six pairs of golfers swept their best-ball group competition to stake out an imposing 9 1/2 to 2 1/2 lead over the Birch Ridge Golf Course teams. The tournament resumes 2 p.m. Sunday with individual stroke play, and if Kenai can extend their lead by three matches to 12 1/2, they can automatically clinch the victory and break a 4-4-1 tie between the two teams have compiled since the Walker Cup began in 2005.
Friday’s results are as follows: Chris Murray and Gilbert Arellano beat Nick Beeson and Max Dye 8 and 7; Chris Morin and Mike Houghton topped George Stein and Kevin Downs 5 and 4; Todd Eskelin and Joe Deveaux beat Greg Stein and Lee Fry 3 and 2; Doug Jung and Rene Alvarez beat C.J. Henley and Kevin O’Fallon 3 and 2; Craig Jung and Aaron Cooper beat Pedro McCall 7 and 5; and Gordon Griffin and Derek Kaufman won by forfeit.
After a rainy opening day Thursday, Friday’s play resumed under similar conditions, but the skies eventually cleared somewhat and golfers were treated to a sunset for the final few holes.
Chris Morin said he and Homer Golf Course teammate Mike Houghton, who were playing for Kenai, were able to birdie holes five and seven on the front nine, and managed to push up the lead through the 14th hole, where he landed a chip shot from the fairway within two inches from the hole.
Todd Eskelin, who partnered with Kenai teammate Joe Deveaux, said the wet greens did not play much of a factor, adding that breaking even was the way to win Friday.
“There were a lot of pars today,” Eskelin said. “We had a couple bogeys, one birdie, but parred the rest of them.”