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George Zahringer, from New York, won the British Senior Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club after posting rounds of 69-75-74 for a 218 total. His one-stroke victory over fellow American Tom Brandes gave Zahringer his first international victory.
Zahringer, a 10-time Player of the Year recipient from the Metropolitan Golf Association, also won the 2002 US Mid-Amateur and competed on the victorious 2003 Walker Team.
Garth McGimpsey from Bangor, County Down, who was the non-playing captain of the 2003 Walker Cup Team for Great Britain and Ireland, shot rounds of 71-72-77 for a 220 total, to finish in third place behind Zahringer and Brandes.
Starting the day one shot behind Ireland’s McGimpsey and fellow American Patrick Tallent, Zahringer took a one shot lead after thirteen holes and went on to victory in a downpour that left him soaked but with a smile.
“It’s great to win my first international title and it’s just beginning to sink in,” Zahringer said after his round. “Playing for the Walker Cup and winning the Mid-Amateur were great and another highlight of my career was taking part in eight U.S. Senior Opens (he was low amateur twice). But this is extra special because it’s overseas.”
Zahringer said he would be back to defend his title and was excited to learn that the 2014 venue is Ganton. The famous Yorkshire course was the scene of his Walker Cup appearance – and he also reached the quarter-finals of the British Amateur Championship at the same venue.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I didn’t know it was there next year, but it will be a great place to go back to again, and as the reigning champion.”
Zahringer said that his final round strategy was to go out and shoot par. After a shaky start with a bogey at the long 530-yard second – “The only hole where I was really aggressive” – and a bogey on the par-3 11th, he finally made a birdie on the 534 yard par-5 12th.
The skies opened up when Zahringer was on the 15th green – hailstones and then heavy rain led to a dropped shot at the 16th.
“But I knew I was two ahead playing the last and I wasn’t going to do anything stupid,” Zahringer said. “I hit a five wood off the tee, a safe four-iron second shot and then had a 60-yard pitch.”
His par putt from 30 feet just shaved the hole but the tap in gave him the victory.
Brandes, from Seattle, Wash., who was seven shots back overnight, had a brilliant final round 69 finishing with four three’s – three birdies and a par at the 17th to finish alone in second with a 219 total.
“It was great fun and a terrific week,” Brandes said. “It was my first time over in Britain and I couldn’t have had a more enjoyable time.”
Chip Lutz, seeking his third straight British Senior Amateur title and a place in history, finished with rounds 70-79-72 giving him a three day total of 221 for the championship.
“I played really well today but I just missed a few putts,” said Lutz following his final round. “It was a good way to finish and a good defense. It was just a shame about the one hole yesterday (a quadruple- 8 on the par-4, 18th hole). Unfortunately for Lutz, that hole was his Achilles heel and sealed his fate in the 2013 championship.