Former US PGA champion Wayne Grady has fired a final round 68 to win the Australian Senior Open at Sydney’s Concord Golf Club for the second year running.
Grady took home the $54,000 Handa Open winner’s cheque in the prestigious $300,000 event after a strong challenge from last year’s runner-up David Merriman.
Grady and Merriman started the day level pegging after the first two rounds and as expected it was a closely fought battle.
They were bracketed with New South Welshman George Serhan and all got off to positive starts for the final round.
Playing in the penultimate group was another tournament favourite and serious contender Stewart Ginn who was paired with first round leader New Zealander Stuart Reese and 1995 Australian Senior Open Champion Noel Ratcliffe.
Grady set the early pace with a birdie on the par three fourth hole and followed it up with birdies on the fifth and eighth to turn three under par for the day. Merriman and Ginn stayed close on Grady’s tail and provided a lot of heat on the back nine. As Grady parred the tenth and eleventh, Ginn picked up two birdies and closed the gap to 2 strokes on the reigning champion.
But it was Merriman who provided some fireworks after being one over through 8 holes. In a short burst of brilliant golf he quickly applied the pressure with three consecutive birdies on the 9th, 10th and 11th and a further birdie on the 13th proving the 2007 runner up was not quite ready to hand over the title to Grady once again.
They exchanged blows until the last hole where Grady held a 2 shot lead over Merriman and with all 3 contenders parring the last, the Handa Open trophy and Australian Senior Open title was once again presented to Wayne Grady.
Merriman joked that whoever was in charge of tournament invites should really ensure that Grady is not invited back in 2009 and Grady commended Merriman once again for his brilliant attitude and pressure he applied throughout the tournament.
It was a typically jovial occasion that exemplifies the Senior golfers’ attitudes and assures more corporate and public support in this sector of professional golf.