By David Tease, Golf NSW
MAYBE it was destiny that Grant Kenny would go from the first group to tee off on Thursday to the last putt in the final round to claim his first tournament victory in almost 30 years as a professional in the Senior NSW Open Championship at Thurgoona Golf and Country Club.
After enduring a sleepless night, Kenny ran out victorious by two shots from Peter Senior after starting the day one stroke behind the Queenslander.
It was a welcome victory for Kenny, but one that surprised everybody, including himself.
“I woke up at three o clock this morning, thought what I am doing,” he smiled while clutching the Senior Open Trophy.
The 51-year-old played impressively today and stamped his authority on the round early. Kenny birdied the first to join Senior in the lead at seven under, and by the time they got to the tenth hole, Kenny had a five-shot lead.
“I couldn’t miss a shot on the front (nine). I saw it and hit it.”
“Then I stood on the tenth tee, and the rest of the round became a blur.”
Senior, however, wasn’t done with quite yet. With his trademark never say die attitude., the Queenslander started to haul in the affable Sydneysider back in as they moved to the back nine.
The five-shot lead quickly became two on the par five 11th hole when Senior rolled in his birdie putt and Kenny could only make a double bogey after finding trouble from the tee.
Despite the near disaster, Kenny held his nerve over the closing holes and managed to play solidly, giving Senior little opportunity to pounce on any error.
”He (Senior) kind of got a little bit angry towards the end, which was good for me,“ Kenny said.
By the time the group reached the last, Kenny was back with a comfortable three-shot lead, and the tournament was his. After chipping onto the final green, Kenny lagged his par putt to within inches and was ready to hole out when Senior imparted a tiny bit of advice.
“I was about to putt in (on the last), and Peter said; “Don’t putt that in because it’s your big one.” I went “cheers, thank you.”
Kenny described the win as welcome and timely boost for his career. After 20 years as a touring professional, the victory means a lot.
“This win means everything. I haven’t played (Tournament golf) for 12 years, so coming back like this, it’s just everything.” he smiled.
For his win, Kenny collected a cheque for $18,000 and a start in the NSW Open at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club beginning on November 16.