Lorton, VA – The Britt Sloan MAPGA Players Cup is always the final major of the MAPGA tournament season, giving players the opportunity to make a final run in the Player of the Year standings. However, this year was a bit different with the Open Player of the Year already secured by a stellar season-long performance by Larkin Gross (Springfield Golf & Country Club). However, that didn’t stop Steve Delmar (Columbia Country Club) from putting on a dominant performance to win a MAPGA major for the third consecutive year.
The 6,737-yard Laurel Hill Golf Club always plays tough with its blind shots and high grass not far off the fairways. Wind gusts up to 20 miles-per-hour in round one made it even tougher. Delmar was impervious to the tough conditions. He got off to a hot start, birdieing his first two holes. An eagle and two more birdies on the front nine gave him a 6-under 30 on the opening nine. He cooled off on the back nine by making bogey on 12 and 16 but finished strong with birdies on 17 and 18. His opening round 6-under 65 gave Delmar the overnight lead by four shots over Yong Joo (TopGolf – Loudon).
The wind died down for the final round, giving players an opportunity to chase down Delmar. Josh Speight (Club at Vinitierra) emerged as the chaser early. He made four birdies on his front nine. Delmar struggled on his opening nine, shooting 3-over 39 to reduce his lead to only one. Speight’s charge ran out of steam as he bogeyed three in a row on holes 11-13. Delmar steadied himself on the back nine by making 4 birdies to no bogeys to finish his final round with a 1-under 70. He was the only player to shoot two rounds under par and won the event by five shots.
The Senior Division had a lot to be decided with Player of the Year standings. Rick Schuller (Stonehenge G&CC) lead Brendan McGrath (Hidden Creek CC) by 140 points going into the event. McGrath knew he needed to win to have a chance to be named Senior Player of the Year.
It wasn’t looking good for McGrath after the first round. Schuller played steady golf by making 4 birdies to 2 bogies while McGrath struggled in the wind. He made four bogies and a triple with only 2 birdies to shoot 5-over 76. Schuller’s 2-under 69 gave him the lead by 7 shots.
McGrath built some momentum early in the final round. He birdied the 2nd hole while Schuller double bogeyed. Another double on 6 for Schuller gave McGrath even more momentum. He kept it going with an eagle on the drivable Par-4 7th hole. A birdie for each of them on the Par-5 9th gave McGrath an opening 33 and Schuller a 38. It was now within reach for McGrath.
McGrath kept the momentum going on the back nine and played steady golf to the finish. His only blemish was a bogey on the par-4 13th. Schuller, however, struggled down the stretch making bogey on 10, 13, 17, and 18. A clutch two putt from McGrath on 18 sealed the victory by one shot.
McGrath now controls his own destiny in the Senior Player of the Year race. He needs to make the cut at this week’s Senior PGA Professional Championship in Florida to win the honor.
This event was also decisive for the Women’s Player of the Year race. Joanna Coe (Baltimore Country Club) and Shannon McKew (TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm) were neck and neck. Whoever finished higher in this event would be crowned the 2021 Women’s Player of the Year.
They both played solid in the tough first round conditions. Coe shot 73 and McKew shot 74 to give Coe a one-shot lead headed to the final round.
McKew had the better front nine in the 2nd round, shooting even par 36 to Coe’s 39. However, Coe got it going on the back nine with an eagle and 2 birdies to finish eight shots ahead and lock up the Women’s Player of the Year.
This is Coe’s 6th Women’s Player of the Year in a row.
Thank you to Laurel Hill Golf Club for hosting and Britt Sloan for being the title sponsor!