AUSSIE golfing stalwart Peter O’Malley turned 50 this week and is planning to celebrate by trying his luck on the international senior tours.
Reaching the 50 plus qualifying milestone has meant a re-birthing for many pro golfers and their careers and O’Malley is hoping for some of the same.
Inspired by the recent escapades of long time mate Peter “Chook” Fowler he’s packing the clubs and heading to the European Senior Tour in July.
O’Malley, who has eight professional wins, including a two stroke victory at the 1992 Scottish Open over another serious senior tour performer in Colin Montgomerie, believes his game is still competitive.
“All those tournaments I have been playing in Australia the last few years have definitely been keeping my game in shape,” O’Malley told Olivia McMillan from the PGA of Australia this week.
“The Seniors Tour is probably a little more social than the main Tour but everyone still plays a pretty good standard, I don’t think I’m going to go over there, walk straight in and win.”
O’Malley has been comparing his own game to Fowler, who is coming off back to back wins on the European Senior Tour and is currently contending – along with Peter Senior – at the US Senior Open in California.
“When I play with Chook and see where I am compared to him in the PGA Tour of Australasia tournaments and then I see what he can do on the Seniors. I feel like that is a guide to where my game needs to be to compete,” he said.
“Chooky puts a lot of time and effort into his game and he deserves everything he gets. It’s great to see him playing so well.”
As well as catching up with some old golfing friends he is also happy to be escaping some of the long-driving young guns who dominate the PGA Tour of Australasia.
“I’ve been looking at the entry lists of the tournaments I am going to play and I’m really looking forward to catching up with a lot of people who I played golf with over the years,” he said.
“But I think I’m also looking forward to the fact that I won’t have too many guys who hit 80 metres past me on the fly.”
“I know that I won’t be a long hitter out there but I certainly won’t have guys hitting it 100m past me, which I have been encountering for the last few years out on the main Tour.”
O’Malley’s career victories include three on the European Tour, two on the Web.com Tour and five on the PGA Tour of Australasia. His best finish at a major was a T7 at the 1997 British Open. In the past five years he has had a win plus nine top 10’s on the Australian Tour.
“I guess if you had asked me 10 years ago if I was planning on playing Seniors golf I would have said no,” O’Malley said.
“But when I stopped playing in Europe five years ago competing was still something that I thought about.”
“There are a lot of good things about what I am doing. If I didn’t like playing golf I wouldn’t be going back and doing it again.”