PETER FOWLER well and truly brought his European form to Sydney with a resounding nine stroke victory at the 2011 Fiducian Legends PGA Senior Championship at the Killara Golf Club.
Fowler went into the final round on Saturday with a five shot lead and quickly made his intentions known by birdying the first two holes.
“I was wrapped with that. I played really solid today,” the current leader of the European Senior Tour Order of Merit said of his round later.
“I got off to a great start birdying the first two holes with a chip and a putt on the first par five and a good fifteen footer for a birdie on the second,” Fowler said.
“So that got me settled and then I parred all the way around to the 13th and ripped a drive and made a long putt (12 metres) for an eagle there and then birdied the next.”
That birdie probably typified a week in which Fowler displayed all the things you are supposed to do on a golf course to keep on winning. Not just hitting great shots but remaining patient, calm and collected when you don’t.
Fowler followed up his eagle with perhaps his worst drive of the week, a wayward shot that ended up wedged against the retaining wall in front of the 15th tee.
It could have been ugly with his first two attempted free drops rolling down the hill into bad lies in woodchip.
He then got to place the ball and from a still uncomfortable position not only made the green with his pitch, but put it close enough to roll in a birdie putt.
“I got a drop from that and rolled that putt in so that was great,” Fowler said. “I am really happy with the way I am going. I only had four bogies for the week so I played really consistently.”
His only bogie of the day came on the par three 17th after his tee shot came up just short and plugged in the side of a greenside bunker.
Fowler finished with rounds of 70, 69 and 68 (Par 72)to be nine under for the tournament.
Tied for second on even were Victorians Michael Clayton (71) and and first round leader David Hill (72).
In fourth was John Clifford (73) on 2-over, with Ken Tarling (72) fifth on 3-over.
Rodger Davis kept in touch with the leaders over the three days but finished with a 76 to be tied for 9th on 6-over.
Second place-getter Hill is in his rookie year on the senior circuits but has started with a bang.
He began his senior career in the New Zealand series earlier in the year, winning the final event. So that’s a first and second in his last two outings.
Hill was originally from Victoria but now lives and works out of Tennessee where he is a sports agent looking after a number of PGA Tour players. His current stable includes the likes of Andre Stolz and Cameron Percy.
He hadn’t played pro golf for 10 years before turning 50 this year and deciding to give the senior circuits a try.
The round one leader, he was delighted to be mixing it with some of the leading Australian players.
Hill played in the final group with a rampant Fowler and could have made it a closer contest but for his second round 4-over 76.
“I knew it was going to be hard to catch ‘Chookie.’ I mean hell, he’s number one on the European Senior Tour so it’s not like I was beaten by a chump,” Hill said.
“I was a little flat with three or four holes to go and then I saw I had a chance to be outright second if I birdied the last and I kind of dialled it up a notch and got the ball to the hole so that was good.”
Legends Tour moves to Perth
Hill was hopping on a plane to Perth and hoping to qualify to play in the 2011 ISPS Handa Australian Senior Open, which starts on Friday at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
If he does get one of the four qualifying spots, he will come up against some familiar opposition – Peter Fowler.
“I think I will go pretty well [in Perth],” an ominous sounding Fowler said. “I like the golf course and I will go over there and do my homework. I’m looking forward to that one as well.”
Killara a happy home
The PGA Senior Championship has found a very comfortable and successful home at Killara and although not yet confirmed it is hoped it will be held there for some years to come.
It has attracted a very enthusiastic major sponsor in Indy Singh, Managing Director of Fiducian Financial Services, and this year offered $110,000 in prize money.
The Tournament was praised by sponsors, organisers and guests and provided spectators the unique opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the legends of Australian Golf.
Tournament Director Rod Read explained: “Senior professional golf is coming of age very quickly, the standard of play combined with the unique Pro-Am format make this event such a unique player and spectator experience”.2011 Fiducian Legends PGA Senior Championship Final Results