Travis Coberly eked out a close win over Dan Mullins from Minnesota on the No. 18 hole on Monday to cash in on his second consecutive victory in the Labor Day Golf Championship at the Trinidad Municipal Golf Course on Azar Drive.
Coberly has competed in the championship round of the Labor Day for five consecutive years, winning the prestigious tournament in 2016, 2018, and this year. Coberly defeated Bobby Abeyta and J.J. Vallejos to fight his way into the championship match. And Mullins gave him all he could handle.
“Dan putted really well today (Monday),” said Coberly. “He made a lot of good putts. He putted really well. I thought with his excellent putting, that would cost me the match. J.J. (Vallejos) made a lot of good putts on Sunday, but Dan was superb today too. I’ve been playing in this tournament since 1990, and my first match right out of high school was against Dan, 29 years ago. Since then I’ve only missed five. I could not have done it without the support of my wife and kids. I loved playing against Dan. We all missed his brother Jim who couldn’t make it this year because of back surgery. My match against Dan turned on hole number 16 where I made a putt to edge ahead of him. And I would like to thank my Uncle (Charlie Festi), Duffy (Blocker), and Drew (Gagliardi) for coming out to support me. I love this tournament. I hope we can keep it going.”
Mullins, who drives from Blaine, Minnesota every year, was pleased with his long trip this year. Mullins defeated Drew Gagliardi on Saturday, then bested Orace Vallejos on Sunday. Mullins awarded Vallejos seven strokes in the handicapped flights to move on to the championship round.
“Coming to the 18th tee, we’re even,” mused Mullins. “I hooked my drive by the gate near the maintenance building and it cost me. My pitch shot caught a tree. Then I missed a long par putt for a bogie and Travis made par. This is a great time in Trinidad. A long time ago I won the Memorial Day when it was a medalist tournament. I beat Ray Hallmark. That was about 30 years ago. I love the golf course. This course has absolutely the best greens I’ve ever seen. If you’re hitting the ball well, the course is scorable. It’s a thinking man’s golf course. I’ll be back. I’m looking forward to next year.”
And the Trinidad Municipal Golf Course and the Labor Day Committee will look forward to having the Mullins clan return, and all the other participants who contributed to making the weekend a success.
Old timer Bennie Irwin drove from Oklahoma City to compete for the 44th consecutive year in the annual Labor Day event. Irwin lost his second match on Sunday and headed back home without any winnings, but with another year of some great memories of a fun weekend in Trinidad. “I started playing back then with people like Duane Ward,” explained Irwin. “Jim Williams used to come with me from Oklahoma. I played against him for five years and shot a 72 against him one time. I even played Sam Putts from Dalhart, Texas one year. And I even beat Gil Maes, but only once. I can remember playing some great matches against a few good players over the years. The Trinidad community and the great weather are hard to beat. I love this course and this city. This track has the best greens I’ve ever seen. I’ve played the Oak Tree Golf Course in Edmund, Oklahoma several times where professional tournaments are played, and these greens are better than Oak Tree. I’m planning on coming back again next year.”
1st – Travis Coberly
2nd – Dan Mullins
3rd – J.J. Vallejos
Con. – Bobby Abeyta
1st – Flight
1st – Pete Montoya
2nd – Dick Makloski
3rd – Debbie Huff
Con. – Billy Gallegos
1st – Doc Leonetti
2nd – Jack Maness
3rd – Joe Martinez
Con. – Simon Garcia