PERTH based Kiwi Michael Long has made a splash in the senior golfing ranks with an impressive victory in his first over 50’s event at the NSW Senior Open at Thurgoona Golf and Country Club in Albury.
Long turned 50 in late August and was welcomed to the Australian PGA Legends Tour for his first official round on Thursday by veteran playing partner Peter O’Malley who greeted him with: “Welcome to the fat bellies.”
Long had passed up the opportunity to play in the Western Australian Open near his home base but said there was method in flying across the country for his first senior event.
The two-time Web.com Tour winner said he would playing in the Australian Senior PGA Championship at Richmond Golf Club in western Sydney next week before jetting off to California to try his luck at the US Champions Tour qualifying school.
Long, the current WA PGA Champion, got a quick lesson in Albury of just how well some of the “fat bellies” perform, particularly Peter Senior, who looked the likely winner as the event unfolded.
Senior began the final round at Thurgoona on Sunday with a four shot lead but a round of the day 5-under 67 saw the New Zealander overtake Senior on the back nine and claim his first senior victory by one shot.
“To come over here, and to do something like this is pretty cool. I’m rapt,” Long said. “One-from-one is going to be a pretty hard record to keep up, isn’t it?”
Long was penciled in for the Senior PGA this week and then will be off to the 2019 PGA Champions Tour School in Primm Valley in California.
“I played and won twice on the Web, but never really got going on the main tour.
“That’s why I’m keen to get back over there and have a crack on the Champions Tour,” he said
Michael Long -12
Peter Senior – 11
Mike Harwood -8
Richard Backwell -6
Peter Lonard -5