Jason Woodruff hits his approach on the 16th fairway at Kenai Golf Course on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, during the Peninsula Cup. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Jason Woodruff hits his approach on the 16th fairway at Kenai Golf Course on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, during the Peninsula Cup. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai tops Birch Ridge in Peninsula Cup

Kenai Golf Course won the Peninsula Cup 16-8 over Birch Ridge Golf Course on Sunday at Kenai Golf Course, but the real winner may have been the Peninsula Cup.

The Peninsula Cup is the new version of the Walker Cup. The Walker Cup ran through 2014, with Kenai taking a 5-4-1 advantage.

Pedro McCall, a player on Birch Ridge’s team, gets the credit for bringing back the Walker Cup as the Peninsula Cup.

“It took someone to break the ice,” Kenai captain Gordon Griffin said. “A little ice had formed over the past few years. It’s a much better feeling right now.”

In a speech given before handing over the trophy to Kenai, McCall said he had been struggling with his golf game and had considered giving up the game all together. Since he loved golf so much, he intensely searched for a reason to keep playing.

“I thought of things that inspired me to play golf when I was young,” McCall said. “The main event I always looked forward to playing in was this one. It was like invitation only.

“I’d like to thank everyone for giving me the chance to be inspired.”

For Griffin and other players, the thanks went both ways because everybody enjoyed the return of the unique format of team competition.

“There was a lot of great golf and close matches,” he said. “I think we got to know each other a bit better. I’m looking forward to competing with Birch Ridge in the future.”

Griffin runs Kenai Golf Course while Zac Cowan runs Birch Ridge. The two were in the same foursome Sunday and brainstormed ways to get Birch Ridge, Kenai and perhaps other peninsula courses involved in more events together.

But there was more going on in that pivotal foursome than brainstorming. Kenai came into the day with a 7 1-2 to 4 1-2 advantage after Wednesday’s four ball and Friday’s alternate shot.

The new wrinkle in the Peninsula Cup is that each team can use two pros. Kenai didn’t have any pros, but Birch Ridge had Cowan and Bill Engberg. With 12 singles matches Sunday, if Kenai could take the matches against the two pros, it would be very hard for Birch Ridge to make a comeback.

Griffin defeated Engberg 3 and 1 (three holes up with one to play) while Chris Morin topped Cowan 7 and 6.

“For us to come away with wins in both matches was lucky,” Griffin said.

Griffin said if he played Engberg 10 times, he’d probably only beat him three times. Morin said he was just on his game Sunday, on course for a round of about even par before the match ended.

“It felt like it could go either way,” Morin said. “If I’m not playing perfect and he’s playing good, it could have been the same score in the other direction.”

Kenai also received a 3 and 1 victory from Tom Reese against Darell Jelsma, a 3 and 2 victory from Todd Eskelin over Trevor Baldwin, a 6 and 4 victory from Kirk Hyman over Steve Griglione, a 6 and 4 victory from Charlie Kahakauwila over Max Conradi, and a 2 and 1 victory from Jerry Norris over Mike Rose.

For Birch Ridge, C.J. Henley topped Bill Davis 4 and 3, and McCall defeated Jason Woodruff 2 and 1. Woodruff said he did not putt well enough to win the match.

“I felt like I couldn’t pull away,” McCall said. “He’d always come back with pars in a row.”

Three matches were halved — Birch Ridge’s Mike Hollingsworth vs. Rene Alvarez, Birch Ridge’s George Stein vs. Aaron Cooper and Birch Ridge’s Jake Eubank vs. Chris Murray.

In the Stein-Cooper match, Stein had a long, curving putt on the 18th green for the win, but it missed by just inches.

“It was tough the whole way,” Cooper said. “He had me for a while, but I fought my way back.”

Putting was decisive in the Eubank-Murray match. Eubank had a one-hole lead heading into No. 18, but Murray was able to win the hole.

“I made putts all day long,” Murray said. “It was the ridiculous amount of putts I made that kept me in it. If it would have been just ball-striking, he would have beaten me hands-down.”

More in Sports

Kenai Central's Jorgi Phillips attacks against Homer on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Kenai volleyball sweeps Homer

The visiting Kenai Central volleyball team swept Homer on Tuesday in Southcentral… Continue reading

Kenai’s James Sparks runs for a gain after a catch during a loss to Houston on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, in Houston, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Kards, Mariners collect Mid Alaska Conference honors

The Mid Alaska Conference awards for football were announced recently. Redington, which… Continue reading

tease
Kenai girls swimmers take 3rd at Palmer Invite

The Colony girls and Palmer boys swimming and diving teams won the… Continue reading

Soldotna junior Brayden Taylor rushes the ball down the field during the Division II state football championship game against Lathrop at Service High School in Anchorage on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Lathrop snaps SoHi’s run of state titles

The Soldotna Stars football team fell to Fairbanks’ Lathrop High School in… Continue reading

Soldotna’s Gehret Medcoff runs for a touchdown against Wasilla on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, at Justin Maile Field in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Stars dominate major NLC football awards

Soldotna, which went undefeated in the Northern Lights Conference this season, won… Continue reading

tease
SoHi wrestlers take 4th at Houston Altercation

The Soldotna wrestling team finished fourth at the season-opening Houston Altercation Tournament… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Emma Beck attacks against Nikiski's Rylee Ellis on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Volleyball roundup: Kenai tops Nikiski; Wasilla sweeps SoHi

The senior civics project of Valerie Villegas was a smashing success Friday… Continue reading

Morgan Aldridge leads riders down a hill at the start of Week 3 of the Soldotna Cycle Series on Thursday, July 18, 2019, at Tsalteshi Trails. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Chainwreck Cyclocross Series holds final race of season

The Chainwreck Cyclocross Series wrapped up with the fifth race Thursday at… Continue reading

Nikiski's Rylee Ellis attacks against Soldotna's Ashlee Anderson on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Volleyball roundup: SoHi, Kenai pull out wins

Staff report Host Soldotna celebrated its senior night with a 3-1 nonconference… Continue reading

Most Read