MGA Season Begins with 89th MGA Senior Amateur Championship
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (May 3, 2016) – The 89th MGA Senior Amateur Championship will kick off the MGA’s 2016 season on May 10-11, when a full, 168-player field will take on Huntington Country Club in Huntington, N.Y. The two-day, 36-hole championship is sure to provide a thrilling start to the season as the area’s top seniors contend for the Horace L. Hotchkiss trophy.
Defending champion George Zahringer III of Deepdale will look to build upon his incredible resume by becoming the first back-to-back winner in the event since J. Wolcott Brown (1967-1969). The 16-time MGA victor used a first-round 65 in last year’s event to eventually win by eight strokes, setting new scoring records for both 18 and 36 holes (138) in the process. To repeat, however, Zahringer would have to hold off a host of proven winners.
In all, this year’s field contains six past champions. Three-time winner Steve Rose of Fresh Meadow also has sights set on history, as he can become just the third player to win four Senior Amateur titles. Rose—a winner in 2003, 2005 and 2010—finished second last year. Meanwhile, two-time champion Ron Vannelli of Forsgate has shown that his winning ways have not slowed. The 2005 MGA Player of the Year claimed his second straight MGA Senior Masters Tournament title last fall, fending off Rose in a thrilling four-hole playoff. Jay Blumenfeld of Mountain Ridge is another two-time champion, having won in 2007 and 2014. Sleepy Hollow’s John Ervasti (2011) and Fairmount’s Al Small (2009) are also in the field, swinging to place their name on the trophy for a second time.
The list of accomplished players continues with 1997 U.S. Mid-Am champion Ken Bakst of Friar's Head, who is a former Met Am winner. Adam Kugler of Alpine, the 2014 Senior Open champion, is making his first start in the event since 2013 and aims to join Ervasti as the only other player to own both a MGA Senior Open and Senior Amateur title. David Prowler of Bethpage continues to seek his first MGA Senior Amateur title, following both a third and second place finish in the event the last two years. Longtime MGA competitor Tom Yellin of Stanwich is also in the field, with his best finish in the event being a tie for fourth in 2014.
|David Prowler has finished in the top three in the MGA Senior Amateur each of the last two seasons.|
Meanwhile, Nassau Players’ Dennis Lynch, the 2009 and 2010 MGA Mid-Am champion, will look to carry his success to the senior stage as he makes his MGA Senior Amateur debut. Fresh Meadow’s Jon Doppelt is also making his debut in the championship.
The 36-hole stroke play championship is open to golfers aged 55 and over, and the field is cut to the low 40 scores and ties (and anyone within five shots of the lead) after the first 18 holes. This season-opening championship has become one of the MGA’s most popular events, quickly filling up and owning a lengthy wait list.
The Senior Amateur is making its way to Huntington for the first time sine 1987. The course’s bunkers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and place an emphasis on accuracy, both off the tee and on approach shots. High fescue grass is another key feature of this Devereax Emmet design, which is sure to produce a worthy champion.
Scoring updates will be provided by the MGA throughout both days of the championship, offering 9 and 18-hole updates during the first round and hole-by-hole scores for the majority of groups during Wednesday’s final round. Live updates will also be available on the MGA’s official Twitter, @MGA1897. Continue to visit mgagolf.org throughout the championship and all season long for complete championship coverage including scores, interviews, player interviews, photos, and recaps.