Harris decides to play,  wins title at Taco Bell

By PATRICK BAHR
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Kevin Harris entered the men’s division of the 51st Taco Bell Western Slope Open on a whim and ended up winning the tournament.

Harris, of Chico, Calif., defeated Grand Junction’s Jerry Lockwood 6-2, 6-1 in the men’s open final at Canyon View Park.

“I really didn’t know what to expect before the tournament because I hadn’t been playing that much,” Harris said. “It turned out OK.”

Harris had already planned to visit his cousins, the Hughes, during the week of the tournament, and didn’t sign up for the draw until right before the deadline. The 29-year-old Harris had played in the Taco Bell tournament before, but he guessed it had been 16 years since he had last competed.

“We used to come up and do this when we were kids,” Harris said. “But I haven’t been here for 16 years, so it’s nice to be back.”

Harris made quite a splash in his return to Taco Bell, winning all of his matches in two sets. He said it was a matter of getting into a rhythm after not having played much recently.

“I haven’t played in a tournament in a while so it was hard for me to get into a rhythm,”
Harris said. “But once I got a match or two under my belt, I felt pretty good.”

Harris’ dominance of the men’s open division is much different than how he recalls his younger days at Taco Bell.

“I don’t ever remember doing very good,” Harris said. “I just remember being hot and my parents making me get onto the court.”

His opponent was the 42-year-old Lockwood, who is a five-time men’s open champion.

His style of play was a perfect match for Harris. Lockwood’s backhands and slices sent Harris all over the court, but Harris was able to track down the shots.

“My game is running and chasing down balls, so I think it was a good match-up for me,” Harris said. “He’s a real tough player, and I was lucky to pull out a win today.”

Lockwood was the top seed and defending men’s open champion. Sunday’s championship match marked the third straight year Lockwood was in the finals, but the second time in three years he’s lost.

“He’s real young and fit and doesn’t miss,” Lockwood said. “I’m not in the kind of shape I need to be to deal with that type of game right now.”

Lockwood added he was feeling the effects of the long tournament and tough matches Saturday.

“I was playing on “E” from the first game on,” Lockwood said. “I felt like I would have a good shot because it’s just the one match, but after two games I was zapped.”

In other action from the final day of Taco Bell, Dan MacDonald and Nick Provenza defeated Brason and Darrin Hollabaugh 6-1, 6-4 to win the men’s open doubles final.

In the 3.5 mixed doubles final, Dave Hammond and Mary Kusack defeated Susan Cassidy and David Pacini 6-2, 6-3.


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