PETER SENIOR has struck another inspirational blow for older golfers everywhere with his third major Australian title in his 50’s.
The 56 year old swooped from behind to win the 2015 UNIQLO Australian Masters at Huntingdale Golf Club today to complete an Aussie “Triple Crown” since turning 50.
Senior won the Australian PGA Championship as a 51 year old in 2010, the Australian Open in atrocious final round weather at The Lakes in 2012, and now the Australian Masters for a third time.
The victory marked his 22 Australian win since taking the South Australian Open in 1979.
ASG spoke with Senior last week during the Australian Senior PGA Championship at the Richmond Golf Club in western Sydney and the veteran of five years on the extremely competitive US Champions Tour certainly appeared to be feeling spritely and confident in his game.
While some had been suggesting Senior hadn’t had the best of years in the US, the Aussie golfing icon pointed out he had major shoulder surgery at the beginning of the year and after nursing it back to health had been back to his competitive best in the latter half of the season, finishing 35th in the money list.
And Senior is certainly a fierce competitor. After the opening round it appeared it was going to be a cakewalk for Adam Scott but Senior is one of those who never gave up.
Starting in the second last group Sunday he opening with back to back birdies but soon gave up the gains. On the back nine he scooted clear to be three in front of his younger rivals, but an uncharacteristic wayward drive on the 17th and a resulting bogie opened the door for the chasers, particularly unheralded 29 year old New South Welshman Andrew Evans.
A pressure up and down from a greenside bunker on the last by Senior meant Evans, in the following final grouping with Canberra’s Matt Millar, need to hole a 20 plus foot birdie putt on the last to force a playoff. He failed.
Senior wouldn’t have been too impressed with a playoff, having lost one to Rodger Davis and Mike Harwood the previous week … mainly due to a putter that hadn’t behaved all day.
Things were certainly different at Huntingdale, and Senior certainly etched his name in Australian golfing lore with his historic achievement.
“I’m getting a bit long in the tooth now but it is amazing some of the things that have happened in the last few years,” Senior said after his win
“I gave myself a chance [beforehand of winning]. If the wind had blown a little bit more I would have given myself a good chance of winning but I started off great, birdied the first two holes, dropped a couple straight away but this is a great golf course and I drove it pretty well today. Hit a lot of good shots coming in, sort of leaked a little oil on the last couple of holes but managed to hang on.”
Senior thanked his son and caddie Mitch, saying he had matured greatly in the job during their five years on the Champions Tour, and also his wife June “for putting up with nearly 40 years of travelling.”
Senior will move on to the Australian Open at The Australian Golf in Sydney this week where he will face a world class field including Scott, world No.1 and defending champion Jordan Spieth, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, and a host of top Aussies.
Speaking at Richmond, Senior had not been too confident of claiming another Open title at the Australian, saying the course favoured the longer hitters.
Scott is certainly one of those, but after bowing out at Huntingdale said while he had put in some great individual rounds of late, had lacked consistency.
“The good stuff is there but it is not consistent enough and I’m going to need four good rounds at the Australian Open.”
Spieth plays sandbelt courses
Meanwhile defending champ Spieth should be feeling reasonable relaxed after slipping into Australia early and venturing to Melbourne to privately experience some top sandbelt courses, including, apparently, Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath.
ASG will be at the Australian Open this week so look out for our on the spot photos and stories.2015 Australian Masters Results