65th LBA 40 gets underway with 9-time champ Kilby leading charge

PALM VALLEY — Day one of the 65th Annual Life Begins at 40 golf tournament went off without a hiccup Wednesday morning at Harlingen Country Club.

With near-perfect weather conditions, some participants called the course “the best it’s been the past few years.”

However, while some things might have changed, others did not.

For instance, nine-time LBA 40 champion Ron “The Killer” Kilby still looked like the golfer to beat despite a rough start to the first day.

“It feels kind of like an old home,” said Kilby. “I’ve played here enough that I know the golf course and it’s always fun to be back.

“I was a little rough to start off and we traded holes and bogies starting off, then about the time we made the turn I started playing a little better and it kind of made a big difference.”

If Kilby were to navigate his way to the final and win, it would be the McAllen resident’s10th LBA 40 championship and his fourth consecutive title. Last year, he defeated 2012 champ Ray Iler in the championship final to pick up his ninth title with an uncommon ruling.

Heading into the 14th hole with a commanding four-stroke lead, Iler needed to win the hole to stay in the match. However, an inadvertent touch of the ball ended Iler’s hopes of picking up his second LBA 40 title.

Before Kilby’s recent string of victories, L.D. Clopton rallied to defeat Rusty Napier for the title in 2013.

This season, there are 96 participants in the tournament with the championship bracket set to tee off at 1 p.m. today where Kilby will face Chris Wicker.