Golf

Lakes High School grad Brian Mogg tackles first US Senior Open test at Scioto CC

A while ago, Lakewood’s Brian Mogg was on the PGA Tour.

And in 1995, the former Lakes High School star and Ohio State All-American played in his only U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in New York.

None of this is just lore, although if you ask any of Mogg’s four children, they would tell you their father is just a Florida-based swing instructor. That is all they have ever known him to be.

Which makes Mogg’s first U.S. Senior Open berth this week at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, all the more special.

Three of his four children — sons Michael and Andrew and daughter Lauren — will watch him tee off in the first group Thursday morning with Jeff Gallagher and Geoffrey Sisk. So will his wife, Vina.

“(My kids) think it’s funny when they hear their dad knows Tom Lehman. I mean, they hear the stories, but they don’t understand playing golf is what I did,” Mogg said. “To have three kids there, it is kind of cool.”

The 54-year-old Mogg still is one of the nation’s best instructors. Twenty of his students, past and present, have won professional championships, including Y.E. Yang at the 2009 PGA Championship.

He had teaching academies in four different countries, including five in the United States. One of them is at Chambers Bay in University Place.

But at heart, Mogg is still a player first.

“I feel like I can help my students a lot because I am a golfer,” Mogg said. “That means playing tournaments. I told one of my students (Friday) morning, ‘Now I’ve got to go walk the walk on what I’ve told you to do.’ 

Right after he turned 50, Mogg tried qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open in 2012 at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Michigan, but he was an alternate out of the qualifying site at Wedgewood Golf and Country Club in Ohio and did not make the field.

He had not tried again since then — until this year.

“I’ve been playing really good,” Mogg said. “I’ve shot a bunch of scores in the 60s at pro-ams, so why wouldn’t I go try and qualify?”

And he did, grabbing the second and final spot out of Waverly Country Club in Portland. He shot 72.

It’s just a bonus that he now gets to tackle Scioto CC — a course he estimated he played 20 times while attending Ohio State.

“The fact I kind of know what I’m getting into, there’s got to be some advantage in all of that,” Mogg said. “I’ve said this over the past 20 years, give me a membership to any golf club in the country, Scioto is in my top three or four. There are courses that are harder, or a touch better, but it is just the perfect golf course. It tests every shot in the bag.”

On Wednesday, Mogg played an all-Ohio State practice round with John Cook, Joey Sindelar and Rod Spittle.

The USGA granted them special permission to add a fifth player, if he showed up — Jack Nicklaus, who was in the Columbus area.

Nicklaus declined to play, but he got together with his Buckeyes later in the day for discussion and photos.

Mogg tees it up Thursday with Andrew on his bag.

“I’ve played enough USGA tests to know that even par will be a good score,” Mogg said.

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