The only thing hotter than the temperatures on Monday was the golf during the 2019 State Farm Pro Am and Skins Game, sponsored by Nancy Field at State Farm. With highs of 88 degrees, it was all we could do to stay cool, but the grounds crew at Birch Ridge Golf Course delivered an excellent surface to play on.
The greens at Birch Ridge are the best in the state, rivaling year-round courses in the states. This allowed for a great competition between pros and ams alike. For the pros, it came down to a tie for first place between Aaron Dexheimer and Beau Forrest, with 68’s. They proceeded to play four playoff holes, tying all of them, that led to a 100-yard wedge off between them. In the end, Aaron “Baby Dex” Dexheimer beat out Beau for the win. Coming in third place was Brandon Kaiser with a 70 and there was a tie for fourth between Rob Nelson and Derek O’Neill with 75’s. It was a great competition on a beautiful day.
The amateurs also had a great showing, with many scores in the low to mid 70’s. First gross went to Palmer’s Dave Matthews (not the singer) with a blistering 71. Second place went to Anchorage and the Valley’s Heath Martin with a 74 and third to Adam Baxter with a 75. The net division was taken by local sports fishing guide Monte Roberts with a 59, and there was a tie for second place between JD Mitchell of Palmer and Gary Davis of Soldotna with 65’s.
Things really started to heat up with the All Alaskan Skins Game in the evening. All nine pros and one am (Eddie Sibolboro) went out in two-man teams. Here is how they broke down — Aaron Dexheimer/George Collum, Zac Cowan/Beau Forrest, Brandon Kaiser/James Contreras, Bill Engberg/Derek O’Neill, Rob Nelson/Eddie Sibolboro. Everyone came out hot, with Aaron and Beau driving hole 1. Ultimately it carried over with birdies. On hole 2, Zac Cowan hit a bomb to just short of the green, setting up Beau Forrest to hit a wedge in there to two feet and the first skins were won. Hole 3 was won by Bill Engberg and Derek O’Neill, playing the hole perfectly down the fairway and making a four-footer for eagle. Aaron Dexheimer and George Collum played hole 4 well, leaving with a birdie and their first skin. With firm and fast conditions, both Beau and Aaron hit their drivers and went over the green, with Aaron’s ball creeping into the bushes beyond. Beau’s drive stayed just short and Zac chipped up to one foot, winning another skin for the duo. Hole 6 was pushed with pars, which setup hole 7 to yield a nice double skin. Beau nearly chipped on in from the back of the green, but James Contreras made a 15-footer for birdie for him and Brandon Kaiser to win two skins. On hole 8, George Collum left his tee shot out to the right, but partner Aaron hit an amazing flop shot that went in for the two. Beau hit a chip from just off the green, but the flag rejected the ball, giving Aaron and George another skin. Hole 9 carried over with pars, after a near miss from Beau for the birdie. The 10th hole became sudden death, and after James hit a wedge shot to about 10 feet, Brandon managed to make the putt for birdie, winning the biggest skin of all and putting his duo on top. It was an excellent display of golf, sportsmanship and community, and we can’t wait for next year!
A huge thank you to our title sponsor, Nancy Field with State Farm. Just as the slogan suggests, she has been a good neighbor for the last three years, and with her support, we are able to host a great tournament.
Another thank you to the Birch Ridge Golf Association for providing financial and volunteer support. They handled the food and setup, and things went very smoothly because of their involvement.
Shoutout to Mike Chenault for being the cook for the day!
Here is a full breakdown of the scores and skins game:
Amateur Gross Scores