LUMBERTON — For Lonail Locklear, there was more on the line than just a trophy heading into Sunday’s round of the Robeson County Golf Championships, presented by Dial Insurance. With his brother, Larry Lynn Locklear, and his cousin, LeMark Harris, within shouting distance on the scoreboard, family bragging rights were on the line as well.
Locklear didn’t flinch away from it, scoring a 3-over-par 75 on his final round to win the mens regular division by five strokes over Phillip Wallwork and Harris.
“It sort of helped me a little bit,” Locklear said. “Then playing with Phillip (Wallwork) too. He’s an inspiration to me because he’s probably the best chipper out here.”
Locklear entered the final round with a four stroke lead over the two, but that wasn’t enough for him to walk away with a victory.
“If I didn’t play good I would get whipped,” he said. “I know I had to play pretty good to face the competition that I had.”
The final round didn’t start off the best for him either, as he had to fight to save par.
“Off the first tee, I hit it into the trees,” he said, “but I pared the hole and I pared number two so from then on it got a little easier. After that I bogeyed number four, then I picked it up with back to back birdies and after that it was real easy until I got to ten and I missed a little putt.”
Even with the lead and the rebound, Locklear said it wasn’t until late in the round that he was confident he would win the division.
“About No. 15,” he said. “I made a birdie on 15 and I knew then.”
Locklear said he has come a long way and winning the tournament means a lot to him from where he has come from in life.
“I give the credit to God,” he said. “Seven years ago, I was on drugs, and I want to give God all the credit for what he has done in my life.”
Beck takes senior title
While Donnie Beck has been in contention in past tournament, he has never really been able to close out the win. This time around, he wasn’t messing around.
Beck entered the final round tied with Doug Dixon at the top of the senior division at 2-over par, but he had confidence in his game.
“I felt like I was going to play really good,” Beck said. “I have been playing good as of late, and I’ve always been an underachiever. I didn’t shoot the scores I wanted to shoot, but I played pretty good.”
After an up and down round on Saturday, Beck was looking for a more consistent finale, but for the second straight day, it was a grind on the course.
“I had a bogey then turned around and had a birdie,” Beck said. “Then I had a double bogey on No. 8 and turned around and got two quick birdies and it helped my confidence.”
The battle for the lead between Dixon and Beck would continue through the back nine, but as the round wound to an end, Beck said his confidence began to rise as well.
“I made birdie on 15 and tied Doug (Dixon) and I felt like I was in control then, because I have a lot of confidence now,” he said.
And for Beck, breaking through and winning this years Senior Championship was a moment he was proud of.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I’ve never had an ego and never tried to win anything and didn’t care if I won or anything. I just wanted to play, and I tried this year so it means a lot to me.”
McQueen edges Miller for ladies title
Despite only have seven total players, some of the tightest action on Sunday came from the ladies division.
A battle between familiar faces ensued between when Pandora Carter entered the round with a two stroke advantage over Stephanie Miller and Carmen McQueen.
“They’re good friends and great competition,” McQueen said. “We play a lot.”
While Carter faded away, Miller and McQueen fought it out until the final hole. McQueen came away with the one-stroke win, shooting a two day score of 21-over-par 165, besting the 166 posted by Miller.
The win was the second in three years for McQueen.
“It makes me feel good. I can go home and brag,” McQueen said.
Heading into the round, she said she knew it would be a battle, and was just hoping for a consistent round.
“I just wanted to par every hole,” she said.
The round started out well for McQueen, but with Miller still sticking around, she was feeling some pressure.
“Stephanie made me nervous,” she said. “From 16 on I was nervous.”
Laura Bird, who was last year’s ladies champion, played in the regular mens division this year.