20th MGA Senior Open heads to Brooklawn

ELMSFORD, N.Y. (August 26, 2016)Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn., is set to welcome the Met Area’s top professionals and amateurs 50 years of age and older when the 20th MGA Senior Open Championship takes place August 29-30.

Related: Pairings and Starting Times | Senior Open History

Mark Mielke became the sixth player to etch his name on both the Met Open and Senior Open trophies following his win in last year’s championship at Engineers Country Club in Roslyn, N.Y., where he finished as the only player in red figures at 2-under 140. The 54-year old is coming off a tie for 11th in the 101st Met Open at Glen Oaks Club and looks to carry momentum to Brooklawn as he attempts the third repeat in championship history.

More than half of the champions in the event’s history will tee it up and set sights on claiming the title once again. A total of 11 past champions are in the field, including every winner dating back to 2003. Darrell Kestner of Deepdale (2003, 2005) and Bobby Heins of Old Oaks (2008, 2009) stand as the only two players to claim the title twice, but a host of competitors are shooting to join the pair with that distinction. Kestner continues to be a threat in the championship, having finished as runner up the last two years.

Bill Britton of Trump National – Colts Neck, who won in 2006, has already experienced victory this season with a win at the New Jersey Senior PGA Championship early in August. That title backed up June’s co-medalist performance at Upper Montclair Country Club that earned him a spot in the U.S. Senior Open.

Additional past champions in the field include Ed Whitman of Knickerbocker (2004), Bruce Zabriski of Westchester (2007), amateur John Ervasti of Sleepy Hollow (2010), Mike Burke of Montammy (2011), Peter Busch of Galloping Hill (2012), Craig Thomas of Metropolis (2013) and amateur Adam Kugler of Alpine (2014).

Meanwhile, several accomplished veterans are seeking their first MGA Senior Open title. Frank Esposito Jr. of Forsgate has logged top-five finishes the last two years and has hopes of grasping the title this year. He competed in both the Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open this summer and made the cut at the 101st Met Open. David Young of Sleepy Hollow looks to continue a successful summer, having won the Met PGA Senior Match Play with a win over Bill Van Orman of Meadow Brook, who is also in the field. Jim McGovern of White Beeches is another pro to keep an eye on, after he claimed the New Jersey PGA/NJSGA Senior Open in a playoff over Mark McCormick of Suburban, who will eye to Senior Open title as well.

As Ervasti and Kugler have shown, amateurs are certainly threats to claim the title and this year’s field contains several proven winners that could come out on top at Brooklawn. George Zahringer III of Deepdale has shown no signs of slowing down, having won the MGA Senior Amateur at Huntington Country Club for his record 17th MGA title. Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge claimed this year’s New Jersey State Senior Amateur title, while five-time MGA champion Ron Vannelli of Forsgate is looking to add another victory to his resume. Making his first appearance in the event is Dennis Lynch of Nassau Players. The two-time MGA Mid-Am champion made a strong debut in the MGA Senior Amateur this year, finishing second.

The growing popularity of the MGA Senior Open led to the addition of a sectional qualifier in 2013. This year, 55 competitors qualified from play at Innis Arden in Old Greenwich, Conn.

Brooklawn Country Club, whose history dates back to 1895, will provide a quality challenge for the area’s best players aged 50 or older. Though its original nine was member-designed, Hall of Fame architect A.W. Tillinghast provided a redesign in 1929. All 18 greens were rebuilt, leaving the trademark Tillinghast contours as a key feature of the course. Deep greenside bunkers, a layout traversing the property’s hills and the Rooster River all add to the course’s scenery and challenge. Championship golf plays a rich part in Brooklawn’s heritage, having hosted four USGA championships: the 1974 U.S. Junior, 1979 U.S. Women’s Open, 1987 U.S. Senior Open won by Gary Player and 2003 U.S. Girls’ Junior. This is the first MGA Senior Open hosted by the Club, which last hosted an MGA event in 2007 with the Met Junior.

Live scoring will be available from the MGA throughout the championship. Monday’s first round will feature 9 and 18-hole updates, while live hole-by-hole scoring will be available for the majority of groups during Tuesday’s final round. Complete coverage of the championship may be found on mgagolf.org and on the MGA’s social media outlets, featuring live updates on Twitter (@MGA1897) and snapchat (mgagolf1897).

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