Midlothian, VA – Good rounds of golf are often predicated by one’s ability to avoid the big number. That big number will often ruin a round, and tournament aspirations down with a single hole. The ability to come back from a big number and persevere may be more impressive than winning a golf tournament itself.
That was the case with Brendan McGrath, PGA in the Senior Open of Virginia at Independence Golf Club. The Director of Instruction at Hidden Creek Country Club was playing a fantastic round in the first round of the tournament. Through 14 holes, he was 5-under par and tied for the lead. Then came the 15th hole. McGrath drove his ball right into the penalty area then proceeded to hit his 2nd shot (punch-out) into a tree and further into the penalty area. After a drop, he hit his 4th back into the penalty area and proceeded to make a quadruple bogey and drop to 1-under par. He finished the day there and was 4 shots back going into the final round.
McGrath’s final round got off to a hot start by making birdie on his first hole. His fantastic approach play led him to a front nine 33. After a birdie on the par-3 11th and knocking it to within inches on 12th for the 2nd day in a row, he jokingly said “this is a mirror image of yesterday’s round, I can’t wait to get to 15.” Another birdie on 13 put him in the lead by two shots. He conquered the 15th on this day, making a par to stay in the lead. Several players were chasing and within striking distance of his lead. McGrath didn’t waiver as he made a 30-footer for birdie on the par-5 17th and another birdie on the 18th to secure the Senior Open of Virginia by two shots over UVA Golf Coach Bowen Sargent.
This is McGrath’s first Senior Open win and the first for a PGA Professional since Ricky Touma in 2016. PGA professional Jim Estes and Dick Mast tied for third at 6-under par.