Rich Lundahl makes a 60-foot putt for birdie on No. 17 during the Kenai Peninsula Open and Pro-Am at Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, July 17, 2022. Lundahl won the open division. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Rich Lundahl makes a 60-foot putt for birdie on No. 17 during the Kenai Peninsula Open and Pro-Am at Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, July 17, 2022. Lundahl won the open division. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Lundahl defends Kenai Peninsula Open crown

Rose takes 3rd amateur title

A couple of familiar faces won the brand-new format of the Kenai Peninsula Open and Pro-Am on Sunday at Birch Ridge Golf Course.

Rich Lundahl won his second straight and second overall title in the open division, while Nolan Rose added this year’s amateur title to previous triumphs in 2009 and 2019.

Before this season, Birch Ridge had two events for pros — a pro-am and skins game in the middle of the summer and the Kenai Peninsula Open in the fall.

Zac Cowan, co-owner of Birch Ridge, combined both into the Kenai Peninsula Open and Pro-Am in order to make it easier for more pros to show up.

While a skins game was not part of the event this season, Cowan said he wants it to return in the future and he thanked sponsor Nancy Field with State Farm Insurance for making a great event possible this year.

Saturday, the pro-am was played, with the scores of each player also being used for a two-day stroke play tournament that concluded Sunday.

The first round of the tournament was played in pouring rain that Rose called “biblically bad.”

Rose said what made conditions so severe was that there was standing water on the greens. He said golfers can get relief from that standing water on the green, but at a certain point it’s just choosing from a bunch of bad options.

“The conditions were just really bad, like, ‘Should we be out here?’ bad,” he said.

In those conditions, Lundahl shot an even par 72 to take a two-shot lead in the open division on Beau Forrest and Chad Isaacs. Forrest, now living in Idaho, grew up playing Birch Ridge and has five KPO titles as an amateur and one as a pro.

“It did feel like 4 or 5 under for sure,” said Lundahl of making par in the rain. “It was one of the better rounds, I think, of my life and I only had 72. It was tough.”

Lundahl said he has several things going for him. He said he’s played more this year than he has in probably 20 years. He’s been spending time in winter in Arizona, which allows him to play a lot.

In between hitches on the North Slope in the summer, he’ll come to Soldotna to see his kids.

“I have an unfair advantage,” Lundahl said. “I’m living in an RV at the golf course.”

Sunday, Lundahl had a 41 on the front nine to open the door for the rest of the field, but he closed with a 34 for a two-day total of 147. James Contreras and Isaacs tied for second at 152. Contreras is a two-time champion of the open division.

“My boy showed up and I figured I’d better start playing now that he’s here,” Lundahl said of Richie Lundahl III.

Lundahl got $1,200 for the victory, while Contreras and Isaacs each received $900 and George Collum got $600 for fourth place.

Rose had an 80 on Saturday, tying him for second among amateurs with Jake Eubank and Ty Collum. Shane Sundberg had the lead with a 76.

Sunday, Rose had a 38 on the front nine, pulling him within a stroke of Sundberg. The two were even when Sundberg took an 8 at par-5 No. 13, while Rose had par.

Rose played steady the rest of the way, winning with a two-day total of 154, while Sundberg was at 156 and Eubank was at 160. Rose’s round of 74 on Sunday tied him with Contreras for low round of the day.

Rose said at 39, it was fun to win a duel with Sundberg, who is 17. Sundberg recently made it all the way to the round of eight before being eliminated at the Alaska State Match Play.

Rose said Sundberg is one of the top 10 players in Alaska even though he is still a junior golfer.

“It gives me a reason to practice, it gives me a reason to keep playing — to have that competition,” Rose said. “So he’s awesome. He birdied the last hole and made a great birdie.

“To be able to overcome a four-stroke deficit against a player like that feels pretty good.”

Ty Collum won low net at 133, while JD Mitchell was second at 134, Darell Jelsma was third at 137 and Dave Matthews was fourth at 137.

In the pro-am, George Collum, Ty Collum, Dave Matthews and JD Mitchell were first at 131; Contreras, Keely Sundberg, Darell Jelsma and Michael Crump were second at 135; Isaacs, Ron Adams, John Schirack and Wade Schirack were third at 138; and Rich Lundahl, Jared Ramm, Steve Dexheimer and Richie Lundahl III were fourth at 139.

Also, Forrest, Rose, George Stein and Eddie Sibolboro had 142; Chris Wright, Steve Tachick, Fred Zumbuhl and Marcus Dolejsi had 145; Cowan, Brandon Boze, Scott Sundberg and Teddy Thorstad had 147; Forrest, Patrick Reinhart, Eugene Malone and Brandon Boze had 147; and Bill Engberg, Shane Sundberg, Eubank and Olson had 148.

Kenai Peninsula Open and Pro-Am

Saturday, Sunday at Birch Ridge Golf Course

Par 72


Player Sat Sun Grs

Rich Lundahl, $1,200 72 75 147

James Contreras, $900 78 74 152

Chad Isaacs, $900 74 78 152

George Collum, $600 78 76 154

Beau Forrest 74 83 157

Zac Cowan 82 79 161

Bill Engberg 88 81 169

Chris Wright 84 88 172


Player Sat Sun Grs Net

Nolan Rose 80 74 154 152

Shane Sundberg 76 80 156 160

Jake Eubank 80 80 160 160

Ty Collum 80 83 163 133

JD Mitchell 84 80 164 134

Sam Olson 83 82 165 163

Dave Matthews 84 81 165 137

Darell Jelsma 85 84 169 137

Michael Crump 91 81 172 152

Wade Schirack 87 85 172 146

Marcus Dolejsi 86 87 173 171

John Schirack 86 89 175 163

Ron Adams 91 90 181 155

Steve Tachick 89 93 182 146

Steve Dexheimer 94 89 183 155

Teddy Thorstad 89 94 183 163

Brandon Boze 97 92 189 177

Scott Sundberg 98 92 190 154

Eddie Sibolboro 100 90 190 180

George Stein 96 96 192 174

Jared Ramm 96 96 192 162

Keely Sundberg 95 98 193 157

Patrick Reinhart 102 92 194 158

Fred Zumbuhl 102 96 198 170

Eugene Malone 102 97 199 175

Richie Lundahl III 105 103 208 172

Nolan Rose tees off on No. 18 on Sunday, July 17, 2022, at the Kenai Peninsula Open and Pro-Am at Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, Alaska. Rose won the amateur division.

Nolan Rose tees off on No. 18 on Sunday, July 17, 2022, at the Kenai Peninsula Open and Pro-Am at Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, Alaska. Rose won the amateur division.

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