PALM VALLEY — Despite the threat of rain, a trove of fans were on hand for the Life Begins at 40 golf tournament championship final at Harlingen Country Club on Saturday afternoon.
The temptation of witnessing history was too great to keep many from braving the wet conditions.
Would Ron Kilby win his 10th overall championship in unprecedented fashion or would L.D. Clopton stun the crowd to pick up his third title?
If there was any indication, it would come on the No. 10 hole when Kilby picked up his fourth straight birdie to take a four-hole advantage. Kilby went on to win 3 and 2 to pick up his historic fourth consecutive tournament title.
“Ten is obviously a nice round number and that in itself is very satisfying, but I think the record of (wining) four in a row sets a new record,” said Kilby after the match. “But not losing a match in four years is something that I’m pretty proud of.”
The record Kilby is referring to is one held by Curtis Person of Memphis, Tennessee, and Maurice Wilson of Dallas. Curtis won the LBA 40 four times, but three were in successive fashion in 1966, 1967 and 1968. Wilson won the tournament three consecutive times in 1969, 1970 and 1971.
Before Saturday, Curtis and Wilson had the most consecutive LBA 40 victories in history. Kilby now holds the new record at four.
However, after the contest it was more about how the two McAllen residents knew each other.
“I played about as good as I could play today,” said an ecstatic Kilby. “I’d like to have two little putts back, but outside of that I hit a lot of really good golf shots today. I play L.D. when I’m in McAllen two or three times a week and L.D. is just a bulldog.
“He’s doesn’t quit and he doesn’t give up. Even when I chipped it in on hole eight and he’s got the forty footer in front of him, you’re just expecting him to make it because that is just what he does. You can’t ever count L.D out.”
OTHER WINNERS: With most of the attention on the championship flight, it was easy to overlook other competitions going on at the LBA 40.
In the first flight, Sergio Zarate defeated Jeffrey Scoggins and in the second flight Daniel B. Strickland beat Dale Shaffer.
In the third flight of the competition, Carter Gresham defeated Rudy Gomez and in the fourth flight, former Harlingen High and NFL punter Leo Araguz defeated Tony Alford.
Finally, in the fifth flight Jerry Schussler defeated Jim Hearn.