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18th Senior Open of Virginia

September 8, 2023

18th Senior Open of Virginia

Championship website | Live scoring | Preview | Record book

Dates: Monday, September 11 and Tuesday, September 12

Format: Two rounds of stroke play with play going off Nos. 1 and 10 between 8:30-10:20 a.m. on both days. If there is a tie after 36 holes, a sudden-death playoff will be utilized to determine a champion.

Host site: Independence Golf Club

Round 2: McGrath wins second Senior Open title

(Pictured: Buck Brittain and Brendan McGrath after the playoff. Credit: Chris Lang/VSGA)

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MIDLOTHIAN -- Trump National Golf Club Washington DC professional Brendan McGrath sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole on Tuesday at Independence Golf Club, helping him become the fourth two-time winner of the Senior Open of Virginia. One of those two-time champs -- amateur Buck Brittain -- had a chance to match with a 6-foot birdie of his own on the second playoff hole but missed, clinching the 18th playing of the Senior Open for McGrath.

"You've got to make those if you want to win in a playoff," Brittain told McGrath as the two shook hands on the 10th green at Independence.

McGrath joins, Brittain, Rick Schuller, and Dave Pulk as two-time Senior Open champions, and McGrath's victory extended the streak of professional victories in the event to three. McGrath won in 2021, and Schuller won in 2022. Matt Sughrue was the last amateur to win, claiming the title in 2020.

Brittain was low amateur in the championship for the first time. Both players posted two-day aggregate totals of 6-under 138, with McGrath going 68-70 and Brittain going 70-68.

McGrath forced the playoff with an outstanding approach shot on 18. Trailing Brittain -- who was in the clubhouse -- by a stroke, McGrath hit his approach from about 120 yards out to inside of a foot, and the ball nearly trickled in for a walk-off eagle. He tapped in, and the players returned to 18 for the first playoff hole.

McGrath ran into trouble off the tee, hitting into the left fairway bunker. Brittain found the fairway and then the green, leaving about 12 feet for birdie. McGrath's shot out of the bunker caught the left edge of the green, leaving him a monstrous birdie putt that he nearly holed. He tapped in for his par, and Brittain missed his birdie look to the send the playoff to a second hole.

Both players found the fairway on No. 10. Brittain hit his approach first, with the shot landing 6 feet short of the hole. McGrath's approach was a little long and right, but hitting first, he drained the putt to put the pressure squarely on Brittain, who couldn't convert.

The next five players on the leaderboard were amateurs. Ron Totton, Scott Bemberis and Jeffrey Klatt tied for third at 4-under 140. Tony Good and Kevin South tied for sixth at 3-under 141. Professionals Glenn McCloskey and Schuller tied for 8th at 2-under 142.


  • McGrath rallied from a double-bogey on the par-4 12th to play the final six holes at 3-under to force the playoff. He also made an eagle on a par-5 for the second straight day. On Monday, it was on No. 8. On Tuesday, it was on No. 4.
  • Brittain made just one bogey over the two days, on the par-3 7th in Monday's first round.
  • Bemberis had an excellent chance to at least pressure the leaders but missed an eagle putt on 17 by mere inches. The eagle would have put him at 5-under going to the final hole, one shot back of Brittain.
  • The move of the day came from VSGA Senior Amateur champion Scott Shingler, who shot the round of the tournament, a 5-under 67, on Tuesday. He opened with a 4-over 76, but the second round moved him 35 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for 10th.
  • Aside from Brittain and Shingler, the other players to post scores in the 60s on Tuesday were Totton (68) and Schuller (69).
  • Klatt and South entered the second round tied for the lead but neither could get going on Tuesday. Klatt shot an even-par 72 and South posted a 1-over 73.
  • Swipe to the end of the Instagram post embedded below for comments from McGrath.


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Round 1: Three share lead at 4-under

(Pictured: Co-leader Kevin South. Credit: Chris Lang/VSGA)

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MIDLOTHIAN -- Past champion Brendan McGrath and amateurs Jeffrey Klatt and Kevin South each posted 4-under-par rounds of 68 on Monday at Independence Golf Club to share the 18-hole lead at the 18th Senior Open of Virginia.

McGrath, a professional at Trump National GC Washington D.C., and Klatt (Medal of Honor GC) each recorded bogey-free rounds on Monday. South's route to 68 was a bit more adventurous, as he worked around three front-nine bogeys with four birdies before shooting a bogey-free 3-under on the back.

The trio enters Tuesday's second and final round one stroke clear of Independence GC member Scott Bemberis, who shook off a string of three straight bogeys to open his back nine and rallied to record a 3-under 69 that included an eagle on the par-5 4th.

Five players are tied for fifth, two shots off the pace, after returning rounds of 2-under 70: Two-time Senior Open winner Buck Brittain (The Virginian GC), past VSGA Senior Stroke Play and Senior Amateur winner Steve Serrao (Willow Oaks CC), Joe Kruper (Old Hickory GC), and professionals Carl Filipowicz (Cutalong at Lake Anna) and Glenn McCloskey (Loudoun G&CC).


  • Klatt was runner-up at the VSGA Senior Stroke Play to Buck Brittain and won Fredericksburg Amateur at Fawn Lake earlier this season.
  • South is a past VSGA Junior Amateur champion.
  • Fifteen players shot under par rounds on Monday.
  • Defending champion Rick Schuller struggled to a 1-over 73 on Monday and is five shots off the lead heading into the final round. 2016 winner Ricky Touma also shot a 1-over 73.
  • Two-time champion Dave Pulk shot a 2-over 74 and is six shots back.
  • VSGA Senior Amateur winner Scott Shingler couldn't avoid the big number on Monday, posting two double bogeys and finishing in a tie for 45th at 4-over 76.


  • "Well I snapped hooked it into the water on the first hole, so that got me a little off track. I birdied the next hole and got it back. But the greens are so fast that you're not trying to make a putt, you're kind of putting defensively. I birdied 9 and that settled me down a bit. I think the back nine is easier than the front, so I was fortunate to shoot 3-under on the back." -- Kevin South
  • "I feel good. I've been playing well all season. I'm kind of tired. We had our club championship this weekend, and I'm feeling it. But I've been striking the ball well and putting it well, so I feel good about it," -- South, who won the Magnolia Green regular club championship last weekend. He'll also play in the Magnolia Green senior club championship next weekend.
  • "I've played a bogey-free first round before. But there's nothing more useless than a halftime score." -- Brendan McGrath
  • "I played pretty good for most of the day. I had a stretch where I got it up and down a couple of times. It's as simple as that. If you drive it well on this golf course, you can make easy pars, so to speak." -- McGrath
  • "I hit a good drive down there, I was on the right edge of the fairway. I had 225 in, so I choked up on a 3-wood and cut it around that tree. I guess I had 5 or 6 feet left. I was looking for a good shot, and I got fortunate." -- McGrath on his eagle on No. 8.
  • "Every tournament is different, right? I think we all like this golf course. Maybe I like it more than most. It's a golf course that's in front of you and rewards good shots and penalizes bad shots. I'm going to try to do the same thing tomorrow as I did today -- just play a good round of golf." -- McGrath
  • "You've got it keep it in play. Keep it on the fairway. Keep it on the greens. You don't want to be in the rough anywhere. That's what I did for the most part. I think I hit 16 greens. I missed about a 5 or 6 footer on 17 (for birdie). I just wasn't committed to the line and I missed it. Other than that, a great day." -- Jeffrey Klatt
  • "I didn't play well in this tournament last year. I made a lot of bogeys on the par-5s, so that was the focus, keep it in play, and give myself a chance." -- Klatt


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