Morin defends Donald Morgan Memorial title

For Homer’s Chris Morin, it was all about staying low and dry.

Battling nearly constant showers Saturday and Sunday, Morin won his second-straight Donald Morgan Memorial Club Championship with a two-day total of 156, which was low enough by nine strokes.

It is the third-straight victory for Morin at a two-day event at the Kenai Golf Course. Last season, he won the Kenai Open, which will be held next weekend at the course. But Morin is not sure if he will be there to defend his title because he wants to spend time with his family.

When most golfers saw the forecast for the weekend, there was probably an element of dread. Not Morin.

“I usually play about the same in the rain and the other guys play a couple of strokes higher,” Morin said.

That proved to be the case on the pivotal first day of the tournament, when it poured on the golfers for the entire round. Morin took control of the tournament with a 4-over-par 76, while Todd Eskelin and Gordon Griffin were next at 82.

Morin uses a push cart as he walks the course. He has a large golf umbrella mounted on the cart, and a garbage bag over his golf bag to make sure his clubs stay dry.

“I hit my putt or shot and go right back under the umbrella,” Morin said. “I think I might stay drier than people riding in carts.”

As proof, Morin brushed the shoulders of his shirt as he sat in the clubhouse Sunday, which saw golfers pelted with rain for three-quarters of the round.

“My shoulders are totally dry,” Morin said.

In addition to staying dry, Morin also avoided the ugly holes that can quickly undo a promising round at Kenai’s punishing layout.

Saturday, he started with a pair of bogeys but got his round moving with a birdie on the 323-yard, par-4 No. 3. From there, Morin had all pars except for a bogey on No. 9 and double bogey on No. 13.

“I stayed conservative,” Morin said. “I hit 4-iron on a lot of holes where I normally hit driver.”

Sunday was a bit more troublesome for Morin. He started with a double bogey, then bogeyed Nos. 2 and 3. He brought it back somewhat with a birdie on the 384-yard, par-4 No. 6, but then had three bogeys and six pars on the back for an 80 and two-day total of 156.

Eskelin and Greg Harrington were next at 165, with Harrington’s 79 standing as the low round Sunday. Max Dye, Doug Jung, Gary Early and Griffin all finished at 172.

Morin said he really wanted the low round Sunday as well. He said a missed, 4-foot birdie on No. 16 was costly, but in general Sunday showcased the type of play that has been plaguing him in Kenai Golf Association and Anchorage Golf Association events this summer.

“Even today shooting 80, that’s kind of the way I’ve played,” Morin said. “I’m not playing the way I should be. I should be shooting 75 or 74.”

Mike Houghton earned low net at the tourney with 146, while Morin was second at 148, Eskelin was third at 153, Harrington was fourth at 153, Griffin was fifth at 154 and Doug Jung was sixth at 156.

Closest to the pins on Saturday were Ken Liedes at No. 5, Early at No. 9, Rene Alvarez at No. 10 and Eskelin at No. 14. Sunday, nobody hit the green on No. 9 while Jung took No. 5, Dye took No. 10 and Eskelin took No. 14.

Donald Morgan Memorial Club Championship

Saturday, Sunday

at Kenai Golf Course

Par 72

Sat Sun Grs Net

Chris Morin 76 80 156 148

Todd Eskelin 82 83 165 153

Greg Harrington 86 79 165 153

Max Dye 86 86 172 160

Doug Jung 88 84 172 156

Gary Early 83 89 172 158

Gordon Griffin 82 90 172 154

Mike Houghton 85 89 174 146

Ken Liedes 83 93 176 158

Rene Alvarez 91 91 182 162

Kirk Hyman 91 96 187 165

Skip Dove 100 88 188 160

Brian Woderak 96 94 190 176

Jesse Wade 102 92 194 172

Pat Bowen 104 94 198 172

Karl Liedes 107 96 203 173

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