Homer’s Morin captures Kenai Open

Homer’s Michael Houghton can still remember the first hole fellow Homer resident Chris Morin played at the Kenai Golf Course about 10 years ago.

Morin’s initial swipe at the notoriously penal layout was a duck hook that ended up on the tee box of the ninth hole.

“I thought, I’m glad I have another duffer to play with,” Houghton said. “He then clears the top of the trees, puts it on the green and two-putts for par.

“Welcome to Chris’ game.”

Morin used that ability to avoid the blowup hole to put himself in some rare air Sunday by winning the sunny and warm Kenai Open for the second-straight year.

Add that to his victories in the Donald R. Morgan Memorial Club Championship the past two years, and Morin has now won four straight two-day tourneys at Kenai Golf Course.

Gordon Griffin has owned the course the past nine years and played at the course for 15 years prior to that. He said he can’t remember anybody else taking four straight two-day tournaments in that time.

“He is just so consistent,” Griffin said of Morin. “He may take a bogey every now and then, or even a double bogey, but he avoids the big scores.

“He took two penalty strokes today and still had bogeys on each hole.”

Morin won with a two-day total of 11-over-par 155. Griffin was second at 159 while Kenai pro Tommy Carver took third at 162.

Morin and Griffin were the only players in the 70s on Saturday — with Morin at 76 and Griffin at 78.

Sunday, Morin put on display the same penchant for recovery he showed on his first hole at Kenai all those years ago.

He took double bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6 to allow Griffin to catch him at 8-over for the tournament. But Morin followed that with birdies on Nos. 7 and 8, and when Griffin took a double bogey on No. 9, Morin had a four-stroke lead heading to the back nine.

“I had three double bogeys today, which is high, but I still shot a 79, so that’s not too bad,” Morin said.

Both Morin and Griffin shot 41 for the final nine, with a ball in the pond and a triple bogey on No. 13 proving costly to Griffin.

“I gave him a run for his money, but I couldn’t close the deal,” Griffin said.

Morin said he played very conservative.

“I can’t play conservative because he’s 50 yards longer than me or more,” Griffin said. “I have to go for it all of the time.”

That steady quality of Morin’s game shines through in the two-day events. He said a win is less likely in a one-day tournament.

“I’m usually able to shoot a decent score two days in a row,” Morin said. “That’s why I do better in the two-day events.”

In fact, Morin didn’t even have the low round Sunday. That went to Kirk Hyman and his 78. Hyman has been playing golf since 1995 and the 78 is his lowest round at Kenai. He chalked the dream round up to some long putts to save par.

Hyman took low-net honors with 140, and capped off the idyllic day by scoring a Titleist driver in the drawing held after the tournament.

Griffin was second in low net at 141, while Houghton was third at 143, Katelin Richards was fourth at 145 and Morin was fifth at 147.

Richards is an eighth-grader at Kenai Middle School who normally plays at Birch Ridge Golf Course. She played Kenai Golf Course for the first time Friday, then impressed the Kenai regulars by delivering rounds of 86 and 81 on the course, which has the ability to bedevil even scratch golfers when it is played for the first time.

“I had great playing partners,” Richards said. “They gave me great tips.”

Closest to the pin Saturday were Houghton at No. 5, Mark Griffin at No. 9, John Glidden at No. 10 and Ken Liedes at No. 14.

Sunday, winners were Alice Kerkvliet on No. 5, Houghton on No. 9, Griffin on No. 10 and Bob Tepp on No. 14.

Houghton and Mark Griffin each took a pair of Saturday skins, while Dave Litchfield, Gordon Griffin and Brian Wodarek added skins.

Sunday skins went to Morin, Max Dye and Gordon Griffin.

Kenai Open

Friday, Saturday

at Kenai Golf Course

Par 72

Player Sa Su Grs Net

Chris Morin 76 79 155 147

Gordon Griffin 78 81 159 141

Tommy Carver 82 80 162 162

Kirk Hyman 84 78 162 140

Katelin Richards 86 81 167 145

Max Dye 82 86 168 156

Greg Harrington 85 83 168 156

Ken Liedes 82 87 169 151

Michael Houghton 86 85 171 143

Brian Wodarek 83 91 174 160

Dave Litchfield 82 92 174 152

Mark Griffin 93 87 180 162

Mark McComsey 91 91 182 154

Pat Bowen 95 91 186 160

Karl Liedes 97 92 189 159

Alice Kerkvliet 92 97 189 153

Bob Tepp 101 95 196 164

John Glidden 104 92 196 150

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