Former collegiate golf standout Andrew Presley is the latest to hoist the tradition-rich Energy Weldfab Meadowbrook Classic trophy, doing so under somewhat-merciful overcast skies and light rain for much of the tournament’s final day on Sunday.
The tournament was the 82nd in the event’s history, dating back to 1937, and Prssley – who played golf at Louisiana State University, then transferred back to his native Fort Worth and finished his college career at Texas Christian University – did it with a flair for the dramatic.
Tied with Jared Johnson after 16 holes, Presley knew what he had to do.
“I knew to have a shot,” he said, afterward, “I probably needed to birdie both holes.”
And then he did it.
Presley birdied 17 (finished the hole with a score one shot better than the par score), then did so again on 18, and on 18, that sealed the win. Johnson lost by just one stroke, finishing second. Presley finished up with a 213, Johnson, 214.
Third place went to former two-time Classic champion Blaine Weiterman, from Overton, who had a 69 on the first day, but finished with a 218 – he did press the leaders into some good golf on Sunday. Weiterman won the Classic in both 2010 and in 2012.
Presley is a good look for Meadowbrook to have as champion. The former Southwest Christian School standout helped his team win the high school state title in 2010, played in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Trump National Golf Club in New York the year before, was two-time All-SEC while at LSU, and once won the David Toms Intercollegiate Championship. He finished his college career with the Horned Frogs in 2015.
Kirk Hale, B.J. Waters and Ken Burnham all shot a three-day total of 220, finishing in a four-way tie for fourth place.
Also of note: former Kilgore High School golfers Patrick Palmer and Jacob Mobbs played on the title flight once again. Palmer finished with a 226, Mobbs a 229. Sandwiched in the middle was Meadowbrook golf favorite Will Hale, with a 227, and former four-time Classic champion Rick Maxey, with the same score as Hale.
Maxey and the late Raleigh Selby are the only four-time winners of the Classic – Maxey also has the distinction of being a back-to-back champion (1974 and 1975), and the honor of having the longest time between Classic wins ( he had a gap between 1975 and 2000, and then won the tournament an incredible fourth time in 2008.
Last year’s champion, Alan Clark, finished up with a 229. Clark last year ended decades of frustration when he became the first “home” golfer – the first golfer from Kilgore – to win the event since 1994.
Jimmy Sawyer shot a three-day 222 to win the Masters, or first, flight – the flights in the Classic are named for famed professional courses or tournaments.
Dallas Ward shot a 232 to win the St. Andrews flight; Chris Vallery had a 241 to win the Pebble Beach flight; John David Plunk finished with a 252 to win the Pine Hurst flight; and Zane McDonald had a 253 to win the Colonial flight.
All scores from the Classic can be found in full on kilgorenewsherald.com’s sports section, and on page 9 of the print edition.
The Meadowbrook Classic has been played every year except one (1955) since 1937, shortly after the course was founded. That first year, Bill Clark of Gladewater held off Henderson’s Dan Dickson to win the championship in 36 holes of medal play. Clark would win it again two years later in a match play win over eventual four-time champ Selby.
Billy Russell was the Classic’s first champion from Kilgore (1940), and then tournament would become a who’s who of Texas professional golf, with names like Jacky Cupit, Bobby Cupit, Roy Pace, and of course, Maxey. Current and longtime Meadowbrook pro David Cline, a former Texas A&M standout, has a tournament victory of his own, having beaten Eddie Welch back in 1991.
For a while on Saturday, then Sunday morning, it looked as if the tournament might be the first one to be shortened due to the weather since 2010. But all the hurricane-castoff weather Kilgore got was a steady, sometimes hard rain that the golfers were able to muddle through. And that kept the normally-three-digit temperatures down.
Energy Weldfab was the tournament’s primary sponsor once again, and Citizens Bank was a platinum plus sponsor. Capco Contractors Inc. and Terra Road were platinum sponsors, and Laird Insurance Agency, Meadowbrook Golf Association, the Merritt family, the Plunk family, Terry Stembridge and the Ward Agency were gold sponsors. The Plunk family were the Classic’s first-ever team champions back in 2000 and have won the team title twice since.
Silver sponsors were Bob Davis Sales, Gary and Pat Boyd, VeraBank, Jack Ryan’s, Jackie and Vicki Clayton and The Back Porch, Kilgore Print Centre, Maven Valve and Supply, Mobbs Builders, Pro Flo Water Transfer, Skinners Grocery and Market, Bill Stoudt, and Woolley Tool Inc.
Presley, who was playing in his first Meadowbrook Classic, was told that only three players in the history of the tournament have been able to successfully defend their title (wins in back-to-back years): Maxey in 1975, Seane Richardson in 1999, and Bryan Baker in 2015.
He said a year out, he plans to return.
“I’d love to do that,” Presley grinned. “It was a great weekend.”