AUSSIE golfers Peter Fowler and Peter Senior had their chances at a rain effected 2015 Senior British Open, eventually won by America’s Marco Dawson.
Fowler finished T9 to continue a bumper year that has included a T17 at the Senior US Open last month and two European Senior Tour victories, while Senior finished T12 and continues to put himself in contention.
Fowler’s second round 5-under 65 at the Sunningdale Golf Course (Old Course) in Berkshire had him up with the leaders but rain delays saw players unable to finish their third rounds on Saturday. After opening rounds of 69-67 Senior was also hovering.
When play resumed Sunday morning neither of the Australians could find the magic of the previous day, Senior stumbling with a double bogey seven at the par-5 14th while Fowler couldn’t find a birdie until the 18th hole.
Fowler teed off Sunday within two of the lead held by Dawson and Colin Montgomerie but closed with a 2-over 72 to finish on 6-under, 10 strokes behind the winner.
Thanks to a birdie on the 18th, Senior closed with a one under 69 to finish on 5-under tied for 12th. The next best Aussie was senior tour rookie Peter O’Malley (70) at even par for the week and T3, with Richard Backwell (76) T80.
Dream come true for Dawson
For a jubilant 51 year old Dawson, it was a dream come true.
The American, whose best finish in 413 events on the US PGA Tour was runner up in the 1995 Greater Milwaukee Open, produced a stunning back nine fightback, storming to victory over legends Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie.
Dawson sank a dramatic and decisive 18ft birdie putt on the last hole for a round of 64 to finish one shot clear of defending champion Langer, who also closed with a 64, while Montgomerie was a further two shots back.
“This is unbelievable,” said Dawson, who finished 16 under par for the Championship. “I can’t tell you how many hours I put in on the range, and I’ve had two back surgeries to prove it. I’ve spent a lot of time on the range and on the putting green over the years, and you know, it’s a little later than most of the guys, but it came true.”
“I had a lot of fun last year. I wasn’t expecting a lot but things started to happen and I started getting more and more confident. And then I won earlier this year, which gave me a lot of confidence through the rest of the season, and when I got to this point two days ago, and I had a good first round and a good second, I thought, okay, maybe this is going to happen again. I said we’ll just keep on making the swings and try and make the putts. That’s what it comes down to. I just made one more putt than Bernhard.”
Dawson’s victory also means he qualifies for next year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon, which will be his first appearance in golf’s oldest Major.
“Isn’t that nice?” he said “So I’ll be here two weeks next year. Great. I love that. I love the way the game is played over here. I love that you can play it on the ground, in the air. There’s so many options, so many more options than we have in the States.”
Langer misses three-peat
Langer narrowly missed what would have been a record equalling three victories at the Senior Open. He was runner up for the second time after losing a play-off to Mark Wiebe in 2013. He hasn’t finished worse that 12th in eight appearances.
“It was an exciting week,” said the two-time Masters Champion. “It’s very befitting of the venue and the tournament. We had a great leaderboard, lots of good players up there, and a few lead changes as the day went by.
“Marco just played phenomenally. Things went for him; he holed a bunker shot and he made two eagles, and leapfrogged both Monty and I. And he made an amazing put on 18 to make sure I couldn’t tie him.”