When that 55-foot putt hit the bottom of the cup on hole 18, “the Gray Eagle” was smiling somewhere.
Alan Clark, born in Longview, raised in Kilgore, and a member of Meadowbrook Golf and Event Center, shot a three-day 201 last weekend – a blistering pace of three rounds under 70 – to hold off Bobby Massa and win the 2018 version of the Energy Weldfab Meadowbrook Classic, a tournament that dates back to 1937.
With the win, Clark becomes the first member of Meadowbrook to win the tournament since 1994 (Randy King), and maybe more importantly to Clark and to his family, Clark will join the tournament’s impressive list of champions – one that includes his grandfather, “The Gray Eagle,” Earl Clark, the former club caddie that went on to win the 1967 Classic (then referred to as the Laird Invitational) and a few men’s club titles.
Clark couldn’t help but beam with pride as friends and family members mobbed him after the tournament, and his impressive long putt – the 55-footer on 18 – drew audible cheers from the gallery, watching above 18 on “The Hill.”
“It’s a dream come true, it really is,” Clark said, afterward.
Massa, a Tyler native and former University of Texas at Arlington golfer who won the tournament back in 2013, was a more than worthy opponent: he pushed Clark the entire way, until Clark finally passed him on the back nine and kicked it into high gear.
Clark shot a tournament-low 65 on the first day (Friday), followed it with a 68 on Saturday and a 68 again on Sunday. Massa finished at a three-day 205: a 68, a 64, then a 73 in that crucial last round.
Chapman Herwood of Fredonia, Kent., provided Sunday’s other excitement, a hole-in-one on six. Herwood had the lowest score of the day on Sunday (65) as a result, but still finished third with a 206, one stroke behind Massa.
Andrew Block was fourth (208), former Kilgore High standout Patrick Palmer (210) was fifth, and Ken Burnham, sixth (211). The 2017 champ, former Stephen F. Austin University standout Stetson McMillan, shot a 213 (seventh place).
As for the other flights – named after famed courses or tournaments – John Dickerson (225) won the Masters flight; John Patterson (236) won the St. Andrews; Jess Stephens (239) won the Pebble Beach; Brad Busselman (244) won the Pine Hurst; and Tyson Strong (264) won the Colonial.
See the scores in full with this story.
Clark reflected on his tournament win with a post on Facebook later Sunday evening.
“Finally got it done this weekend at the Meadowbrook Classic,” Clark wrote. “This tournament has been going on for 81 years, and has some great traditions. What means the most to me is my granddad won it in 1967, and now I get to have my name on the same board of champions.
“Thanks to the Clements and Energy Weldfab for the support of this tournament and thanks to my family for coming to support me this whole weekend. Now, on to the beach.”
Committee members who helped organize the classic were Bobby Beane, Mike Beane, Alan Clark, Scott Clark, Michael Clements Jr., David Cline, Greg Collins, Will Hale, Melvin Jordan, Harvey McClendon, Daniel Nichols, Kenneth Plunk, Josh Spalding, Ross Taylor and Tom Watson.
Joan Barthelemess was once again the committee’s secretary.
Energy Weldfab once again was the primary sponsor for the Meadowbrook Classic. Platinum sponsors are Capco Contractors, Inc., Citizens Bank, and TerraRoad Portable Roadway.
Gold sponsors are The Plunks, the Merritt family, Ward Agency, Terry Stembridge and Laird Insurance Agency.
Silver sponsors were Pro-Flo Water Transfer, Jackie and Vicki Clayton (The Back Porch), Citizens National Bank, Woolley Tool, Inc., Bob Davis Sales, Mobbs Builders, Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt, Jack Ryan’s Steak and Chophouse, Gary and Pat Boyd, Pretty in Print and Maness Furniture.