FORT WORTH—With a two-putt par on the first playoff hole, Ron Kilby won the State Senior Amateur Championship for the second time in four years. The 59-year-old from McAllen also won the 2011 Texas Senior Amateur when it was played at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas.
This time, Kilby defeated Ken Coutant from Dallas at historic Shady Oaks Country Club by easing in a three-footer for par on the 435-yard, par-4 18th hole. It came minutes after Kilby bogeyed the same hole in regulation play to fall back into a tie with Coutant. Kilby and Coutant finished the three-day, 54-hole championship at 2-over-par 215. Kilby shot rounds of 72-71-72; Coutant recorded scores of 70-73-72.
“To win the Texas Senior Amateur is a special because there are so many good seniors in Texas—more than in any other state,” said Kilby, who owns a McAllen-based commercial real estate company that leases office space to the State of Texas. “I’ve played in many TGA events, and when I won this the first time my wife Becky wasn’t there. To have her here with me today makes this extra special.”
The victory also gets Kilby into the field for the 2015 Texas Amateur, which will be played at Bent Tree. Kilby previously hadn’t qualified for that championship, and going back to the course where he won his first State Senior Amateur title was heavy on his mind this week at Shady Oaks.
“You bet,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going back to Bent Tree. That’s a golf course that’s somewhat like this one. You have to position yourself and putt really well. I feel like I can be competitive on that course.”
Kilby was more than competitive at Shady Oaks, the club where iconic Ben Hogan made his home before he passed away in 1997. The recently remodeled clubhouse contains several shrines to the nine-time major champion from Fort Worth, including his double locker, which is kept behind glass in the same pristine condition as it was the last time he visited the club.
“It doesn’t get any better than winning here at Mr. Hogan’s club,” said Kilby, who made eight birdies during the State Senior Amateur.
Coutant, a lifelong amateur who plays out of Sherrill Park Golf Course in Richardson, was cheerful in defeat. Down three shots at one point on the final nine holes, Coutant rolled in 20-foot birdies on the 14th and 15th holes to put pressure on Kilby.
“I’m so proud of the way I played today,” said Coutant, a 55-year-old CPA. “I really hung in there and finished strong. My hat’s off to Ron, though. He played great and stepped up and piped one down the fairway on the playoff hole.”
Houston’s Bob Kearney, winner of the 2001 Texas Amateur and 1998 State Mid-Amateur, finished in third place at 3-over 216. He shot an impressive 1-under par 70 in the final round. Scott Smith from Houston took fourth place at 5-over 218. Tim Carlton from Cypress was fifth at 6-over 219.
With its massive greens and tree-lined fairways, Shady Oaks played as a par 71 at 6,780 yards for the Senior Division. For the 54-hole event, the course had a stroke average of 76.80.
In the Super Senior Division, Aledo’s Jody Vasquez ran away with the title after shooting 1-under 70 in the final round. A former range ball shagger of Hogan, Vasquez shot rounds of 75-74-70 to post 6-over 219, which was good for a five-shot victory over Harold Speer from Mansfield.
“To win anywhere matters, but I knew Mr. Hogan pretty well,” he said. “So it’s always nice to come over and visit Shady Oaks.”
Vasquez, 67, worked as one of Hogan’s ball shaggers from 1964-69.
“I was the kid out there holding the shag bag,” Vasquez said with a smile.
Speer finished at 11-over 224 to take second place. Chip Stewart from Dallas placed third with a three-day total of 14-over 227. The Super Seniors played Shady Oaks at a length of 6,435 yards. The three-day course average was 79.99.
For more information on the 2014 State Senior Amateur Championship, including complete scoring, please click here