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2024 Senior Open Preview

2023 Champion Rich Steinmetz with Annie Vanzant (PaGA President)


The Pennsylvania Golf Association’s (PAGA) Senior Open Championship may not have a deep history but it is sure on its way to a rich one. The fourth annual event, sponsored by Dick’s Sporting Goods, will get under way Monday, May 13, for a two-day, 36-hole battle to determine a champion on the 6,600-yard, par-72 course at Sewickley Heights Country Club.

In the first three editions of the championship, a come-from behind win, a down-to-the-wire, one-stroke victory and a playoff triumph produced three different winners. The field is full once again with plenty of contenders. Three divisions will be up for grabs: Open, which includes all contestants, Senior Professional and Senior Amateur. The Senior Professional players will compete for a prize pool of $15,000.

Coming from two strokes back with a hot start in round two made John Pillar (Woodloch Springs Golf Club) the inaugural champion in 2021 over amateur Oscar Mestre of Overbrook Golf Club. Year two saw Kevin Shields (The Club at Nevillewood) top Brian Kelly (Bucknell Golf Club) with a one-stroke victory. And a year ago, it took Spring Ford Country Club’s Rich Steinmetz, the reigning PGA Philadelphia Senior champion, converting a four-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a sudden death playoff to take away Shields’ attempt to repeat.

This year’s version includes all three past champions along with some other professionals with past success in PGA section events throughout the state, including Kelly and the 2023 Pennsylvania Open champion, Kevin Kraft.

In addition, several of the state’s top senior amateurs will compete. Rick Stimmel (Connoquenessing Country Club), John Barry (Lancaster Country Club) and David Brown (Williams Golf & Country Club), the reigning senior players of the year in PAGA, GAP and the West Penn Golf Association (WPGA) head the list.

Also competing, Sean Knapp (Hannastown Golf Club), West Penn’s amateur champion in 2023, who won that title for the ninth time. Another former West Penn amateur titlist with an impressive resume, Arnie Cutrell (Greensburg Country Club) is also listed among the entrants.