Shields Holds on For Senior Open Win
CANONSBURG, Pa. - Kevin Shields finished as runner-up in the Pennsylvania Open on three different occasions. In the 2nd edition of the Pennsylvania Senior Open, he wasn’t about to let that happen again. Shields shot a second round 71 (-1) to finish at 3-under par 141 at Valley Brook Country Club to win the championship, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t want this,” said Shields, who finished second in the Pennsylvania Open in 2003, 2005 and 2011. “I almost won the state open three times. I don’t lose sleep over it but it does bother me. I’d never won a state title. I couldn’t even win our high school state title. So this is better than I even thought.”
Shields had a clean round with the exception of his lone blemish, a double-bogey on the 17th that dropped his lead to a single stroke.
“I really butchered that hole,” said Shields. “I only hit one really bad shot there but I butchered it.”
To get the win, Shields had to hold off first round co-leader Brian Kelly, who played very strongly over the 36 holes, with just a single bogey in that time.
“I really worked on my ball striking,” said Shields, who collected a $4000 prize for his win. “I don’t think I’m ever going to be a great putter. The course today was resistant to scoring. The pins were always good and it was just hard to make putts out here.”
Entering the day in a tie at 2-under par, Shields moved in front as the aforementioned lone bogey Kelly made took place on Tuesday’s first hole. The lead went to two shots after Shields made birdie on the 544 yard, par-5 fifth hole.
The players strung together six consecutive pars each before matching birdies on the par-3 12th. When Shields made another birdie on the par-5 14th, his three-shot lead made his victory seem inevitable. But the rare miscue with the double-bogey on the 17th brought the edge down to just a shot. However, Kelly could do no better than par on the 18th, which Shields matched, giving him the championship in the event’s second year of existence.
“Maybe that’s my senior maturity,” said Shields, who turned 50 earlier this year. “Maybe in a past life what I did on 17 would have bothered me and I’d have hit bad shots, but I hit two good shots there.”
Amateur stalwarts Sean Knapp of Hannastown Golf Club and David Brown of St. Clair Country Club tied for third at even par 144. Rich Steinmetz, golf professional at Spring Ford Country Club, tied for fifth with amateurs Rick Stimmel (Diamond Run Golf Club) and Ken Phillips (Lancaster Country Club), with a score of 1-over par 145. Stimmel and Steinmetz tied for the low round of the day on Tuesday with scores of 70 (-2).
Defending champ, professional John Pillar of Woodloch Springs, finished in a tie for eighth place at +2.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Valley Brook Country Club for the hospitality shown during the championship. Thanks as well to DICK’S Sporting Goods for sponsorship of the event.