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Preview: 17th MGA Senior Open

ELMSFORD, N.Y. (August 23, 2013) - The 17th MGA Senior Open heads to Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale, N.Y., on August 26 & 27 and features a field of 113 talented amateur and professional players 50 years of age and over, competing for one of the Met Area’s top senior titles and a $25,000 purse. 

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After winning his first MGA Senior title in 2012, Peter Busch of Galloping Hills returns to the field looking to defend the trophy he won in a hard fought playoff over 2004 champion Ed Whitman of Knickerbocker. Busch, the oldest player to hold the title, is in top form having qualified for the 2013 U.S. Senior Open, but may have to fend off another challenge by Whitman following Whitman’s solid performance in the 2013 Met Open at Old Westbury.  

Relative newcomers to the senior ranks that are sure to be factors in the this year’s competition include three-time NJPGA Player of the Year and reigning (2013) NJSGA Open Champion, Frank Esposito Jr. of Brooklake, two-time Met Open winner Mark Mielke of Mill River, and 2009 Westchester Open champion Craig Thomas of Metropolis.      

Also leading the charge will be two-time champion Darrell Kestner of Deepdale (2003, 2005) who, in addition to his two MGA Senior Open titles, has the most top ten finishes in this event. He’ll join other past MGA champions including 2007 Senior Open winner Bruce Zabriski of Westchester, 2008 and 2009 Senior Open champion Bobby Heins of Old Oaks, Bill Britton of Trump National – Colts Neck (2006), Mike Burke of Montammy (2011) and the Senior Open’s only amateur winner, John Ervasti of Sleepy Hollow (2010).

The amateur side of the field is exceptionally well represented this year and threatens to add another winner from their ranks. In addition to Ervasti, look for Allan Small of Fairmount, the 2009 MGA Senior Amateur champion who will be making his 21st appearance in a USGA championship in September at the U.S. Senior Amateur; John Tingley of Stanton Ridge, the 2013 MGA Senior Amateur winner; Robert Howe of Winged Foot, the inaugural MGA Senior Masters champion (2012); ten-time MGA Player of the Year George Zahringer III of Deepdale; 1997 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion Ken Bakst of Friar’s Head; three-time MGA Senior Amateur winner Steve Rose of Fresh Meadow, as well as 2012 and 2008  MGA Senior Amateur champ Ron Vannelli of Forsgate.             

The MGA Senior Open is contested over two days of 18-hole stroke play with the field cut after the first round to the low 40 players and ties and anyone within five shots of the lead. It is open to golfers who will have reached their 50th birthday by August 12, 2013. Due to a large number of entries for this event, 2013 was the first year that the MGA held a sectional qualifying round to determine the final field.

Sunningdale, a challenging and picturesque Westchester layout, should prove a fine test for the field and make for an excellent two days of golf for the 17th edition of the MGA Senior Open.           

Live scoring will be made available for both rounds of the championship. Full coverage, including videos and photos, can be found at 

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