Mielke Becomes First Player to Win Three MGA Senior Opens
EDISON, N.J. (August 29, 2023) – Mark Mielke became the first player to win three MGA Senior Open titles after taking home the 27th Lexus MGA Senior Open Championship on Tuesday at Plainfield Country Club, posting a 4-under 140 tournament total for the 36-hole event. Mielke adds the 2023 title to wins in 2015 at Engineers and 2018 at Glen Head.
In the final round on Tuesday, Mielke - currently a teaching professionat at High Ridge Country Club in southern Florida - began one shot back and recorded a 1-under-par 71 to win by one shot over 2021 champion David Schuster of Sleepy Hollow, two-time champion Frank Esposito Jr., of Mountain Ridge, and past Met Open winner Mike Gilmore of Winged Foot.
“Three wins in this tournament, with the MGA, is awesome. It is part of history. My kids will see it so it is kind of cool,” said Mielke.
The 71 featured three birdies and two bogeys for Mielke, who's also a two-time Met Open winner. Mielke birdied the par-3 second hole and the par-5 seventh to finish the front nine in 2-under 34. After moving to 5-under with a birdie on the par-4 13th, Mielke bogeyed the 14th before making par on the final four holes.
Mielke added, “Coming down the stretch I felt a bit of pressure. I hit a couple of squirrely shots but held it together. It is a tough golf course and hard to make a lot of birdies.”
On the par-4 18th, Mielke found the right rough with his drive. Despite being in the right rough, Mielke had a good angle to the left hole location. His approach held the putting surface, and he two-putted for par to preserve his one-shot advantage.
A number of those chasing Mielke throughout the round had opportunities of their own down the stretch but couldn't take advantage. Esposito birdied the par-5 17th to move to 3-under for the championship. On the 18th hole, the 2020 and 2022 champion had an opportunity to move to 4-under but missed his birdie attempt on the low side. Schuster birdied the par-4 13th and eagled the 17th hole to move to 3-under for the championship. Shuster’s eagle was one of two in the final round.
Gilmore, the overnight leader, carded a 1-over 73 in his final round. Gilmore bogeyed the par-4 11th before paring his final seven holes. On Nos. 17 and 18, Gilmore had birdie putts but couldn't get one to drop. His putt on 18 would have forced a playoff with Mielke.
Lou Kubisa of Knob Hill, Brian Gaffney from Essex Fells, and Greg Bisconti of The Saint Andrew’s Golf Club rounded out the top five at 2-under par.
Rock Spring’s Michael Brown finished as the low amateur after finishing tied for eighth at 1-under par with rounds of 73-70. Brown had the other eagle on 17 in the final round. Keith Grassing of the NJPGA, Peter Springstead of Hackensack Golf Club, Andy Brock of the Inspiration Golf Range, and Scott Ford of Glen Oaks also finished at 1-under to record top-10 finishes.
The Seawane Club will host next year’s Lexus MGA Senior Open.