In brutal heat that wilted the games of lesser golfers, Rob Labritz won the 94th Westchester Open played at his home course, GlenArbor GC in Bedford Hills. Labritz, who just recently punched his ticket to play in the PGA Championship for the fifth time, finished 16 strokes under par, besting runner-up Frank Bensel of Century CC in Purchase by three strokes, and Peter Ballo of Old Oaks GC, also in Purchase, by four.
Labritz hadn’t yet won the Westchester Open, so the win not only netted him a $7,200 check, but also a new trophy for his over-loaded shelf. Among many other triumphs, the 45-year old won the Westchester PGA Championship three times (including this year) and was Met PGA Player of the Year twice. Labritz has also been WGA Player of the Year five times—so far.
County Executive Rob Astorino marks centennial of Westchester Golf Association with WGA President Ben Kirschenbaum
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A total of 117 golfers qualified for the event. Ballo took an early lead in the first round with a sizzling 64, but gave it up in the morning round of the final day when he slipped to 67. Labritz fired a pair of 65s in the first two rounds, then held on with a steady two-under-par 70 in the final round. The last two rounds were played back to back in afternoon temps in the 90s.
Golf’s greatest champions have won the Westchester Open. Ben Hogan topped the field in 1940, while Claude Harmon and Paul Runyan both won six times, as did Bobby Heins, head pro at Old Oaks. Other notable champions in recent years include Danny Balin of Burning Tree (2010 and 2015), Greg Bisconti of St Andrew’s (2011), and Craig Thomas of Metropolis (2009). Bensel won the tournament in 2004.
It was the 94th playing of the Westchester Open and marked the 100th anniversary of the Westchester Golf Association. The centennial was celebrated by County Executive Rob Astorino, who presented a plaque to WGA President Ben Kirschenbaum at the conclusion of the tournament.