July 28, 2013
SAN ANTONIO - Mike Booker and Ron Kilby returned to Oak Hills Country Club on Sunday morning for the final match of the 2013 Mid-Amateur Match Play Championship. To make the match a little more exciting, there is a bit of history between the two finalists. Booker and Kilby were roommates at the University of Houston where they played on the golf team together. Kilby said, "It is great to play against a friend that I have played so much golf with."
The final match got underway at 7:30am with the two players starting on the first hole. Kilby's drive ended up out of bounds to the right side of the hole and Bookers par was enough to give him the early 1-up lead. They went on to halve the 2nd hole with bogeys, moving the match on to the 3rd. Booker would go on to make two solid pars on holes 3 and 4 to win each hole and take his lead to 3-up through 4. The players halved the 5th with pars, but with another par on the difficult 6th hole, Booker's lead extended to a commanding 4-up through six. Matching shot for shot, Kilby and Booker went on to halve the next three holes with pars to send the match to the back nine with Booker 4-up.
As was proven throughout the week, par was the score to make and would win a lot of holes for players. With Kilby making a bogey on the par-5, 10th, Booker made yet another par to take his lead to 5-up. At this point, most thought that it would only be a few holes until Booker would close out the match, Ron Kilby had a different idea. On the 11th, Booker's drive went down the left side of the fairway and ended up in the rough behind a tree. Taking advantage of his shot from the fairway, Kilby hit his approach shot on the green and made a dent in the deficit cutting it to 4-down. On the 12th, Kilby hit a beautiful approach that settled within three feet of the hole. With Bookers birdie putt just missing the hole and Kilby making his, the players would move on to the difficult par-3, 13th, with Booker 3-up. The two would halve the 13th with pars before Kilby got another hole back on the 14th with a par to move to 2-down with four holes to play.
Kilby and Booker proceeded to match pars on the 15th and 16th holes before arriving at the 17th tee with Booker maintaining his lead of 2-up. Booker's approach shot on the 17th flew over the flag and nestled in the rough leaving him a very difficult pitch that ultimately led to a bogey. With Kilby's approach safely on the green, he made a routine two-putt for his par to move to 1-down and send the match to the par-3, 18th hole. Needing a win on the 18th to extend the match to extra holes, Kilby took an aggressive line at the hole and left himself with a 15 foot birdie putt. Booker took a similar line at the hole and left his shot about 18 feet behind the hole, also for birdie. Booker's putt trickled down the slope and settled about 2 feet from the hole. Kilby now had a putt to extend the match. Kilby's putt started on a beautiful line but slid just past the hole giving him a conceded par. After finishing off his short putt on the 18th, Mike Booker was greeted by his opponent and friend to congratulate him on his Mid-Amateur Match Play victory.
When asked what it meant to claim the victory at this prestigious event, Booker said, "It meant a lot to win the Texas Mid-Amateur stroke play event in 2003, but to follow it up with the Mid-Amateur Match Play 10 years later feels amazing." The win closes out a memorable month for Booker that also included the wedding of his daughter.
For full results, please visit TXGA.org.