By Vin Mercogliano
DEMAREST, N.J. – After winning his first MGA Senior Open Championship at Alpine Country Club on Tuesday, Adam Kugler spoke of reading about many of his competitors in the newspaper before he began playing competitively again in his 50s.
The respect that he has for his competitors gave him the impression that he had no shot at winning, so he entered the tournament with the mindset that he had nothing to lose.
“In my wildest dreams, I didn’t think I had a chance to win at all,” said the 24-time club champ at Alpine. “That kind of made me more comfortable than I should have been because the names are all marquee names, and I was just trying to do decent.”
Kugler shot a 69 in the first round on Monday and followed it up with a 68 on Tuesday to pull away from the field and win by four strokes at 7-under. He said it was “easily” the biggest win of his amateur career.
Quaker Ridge Golf Club’s Rick Vershure, an Armonk resident, began the second day tied with Kugler for the lead, but he shot a 74 to finish tied for sixth at 1-under.
“I didn’t drive the ball well (Monday), and again, I didn’t drive it so great (Tuesday),” Vershure said. “But it seemed like all of those putts that I was just burning the edge on (Tuesday), I was making (Monday).
The highest finisher with local ties was Deepdale Golf Club’s George Zahringer III, a Rye native who shot a 70 on Tuesday to finish tied for fourth place at 2-under.
“This golf course is a great golf course, but you need to get familiar with these greens,” Zahringer said. “There’s a lot of shots that you hit into these greens where you can see the flag, but you can’t see the putting surface. Like any round in golf, or like any shot in golf, the less uncertainty that you have, all things being equal, the better swing you’ll have. So I think I just made some better swings today, and better decisions.”