HARRISON – It’s late in the game for a career first, which only makes George Zahringer III appreciate his MGA Senior Amateur Championship win more.
The 62-year-old Rye native ran away from the field. He finished with a 6-under 138 total, a tournament record. Nobody else in the field was scoring on the difficult West Course at Westchester Country Club. Steve Rose came in second, finishing eight shots back.
Zahringer had a commanding lead coming into Wednesday’s round after opening with a 7-under 65 and played carefully in more difficult conditions.
“I played a combination of defense and offense,” said the former WCC member, who now lives in Manhattan and plays out of Deepdale. “You have to play smart with a lead, and there is smart aggressive and stupid aggressive. I played smart aggressive.”
Zahringer is the winningest golfer in MGA history with 16 career wins, but had never won this event. Of course, he’s only entered twice.
“This is a great venue,” he said. “It’s always good to get a win at a great venue, and the West Course is sensational. And then anytime you win an MGA championship, you should feel very fortunate. This is the best section for amateur golf in the country. At my age, the tank is not as full as it once was and you never know when it’s going to be empty.”
Richard Feldman, a Bedford resident who plays out of Centennial Golf Club, made a run and got within five of Zahringer before falling back and finishing in a fourth-place tie at 4-over.
“I got close,” he said. “I was hitting the ball OK, but I missed some putts. “I got to 1-under, but then I had some problems on the 15th hole. There were a few bad wedges and a lot of putts. I took an 8, and that was my undoing.”
(George Zahringer III photo courtesy of the MGA)