18 Holes with Lester Peterson: Australian senior amateur golfing wrap May 2019

Darryl Hearsch interviews leading senior amateur golfer Lester Peterson, and wraps up all the latest senior golfing action from around the country.


18 Holes with Lester Peterson

Lester Peterson

Before the interview with Lester I asked him for a quick bio on his golfing highlights and what a bio!

  • Played for NSW from 1984 to 1999. Made one comeback appearance in 2005.
  • Played for Australia on and off between 1986 and 1996. Played three Eisenhower cups in Stockholm, Christchurch and Paris. One last appearance for Australia in 2009 when filling in for a sick player in Four Nations cup in Canada in 2009 when he was the team manager.
  • Won New Zealand, Malaysian, Austrian and Argentinian Amateurs. Runner-up twice in Australian amateur and once New Zealand amateur. Won NZ foursomes twice and Australian foursomes once.
  • Won NSW amateur, NSW mid amateur, NSW senior amateur and NSW par 3 championships. Won NSW foursomes twice.
  • Played in Amateur Championship five times between 1986 and 1999 at Royal Lytham, Royal Porthcawl, Royal Birkdale, and twice at Muirfield, qualifying for match play four times. 
  • Played qualifying for Open Championship at Turnberry in 1986, winning 8 person play off for an alternate spot, but did not end up getting a start.
  • Played US Amateur in 1994, winning sectional qualifying in Rhode Island, and then making match play at TPC Sawgrass.
  • Won Riversdale Cup twice, Lake Macquarie Amateur, South Australian Invitational and Federal Amateur.
  • Played Australian Open many times between 1984 and 2004, as well as playing quite a few times in Australian Masters, NSW Open, Victoria Open and SA Open. 
  • Won quite a few Vardon events around the place including Concord, Pymble, Pennant Hills, and St Michaels Cups.
  • Won Bardwell Valley club Championship at different times from 1976.

As you can see a brilliant career and watch out seniors when he retires and starts playing more senior events.

  1. Tell us about before age 55. Work, golf, other sports etc.

 When I was younger, I liked all sorts of sports, and might have been better at cricket than golf, but ended up preferring golf. 

When I first left school I work as a garbo so I could finish work early and practice golf, but decided I like to play sport because I like to play, not because I have to play.

As I lived close to the airport I used to always see planes coming and going so thought being a pilot might be an interesting career, so went out and got my licence and worked at Bankstown as a charter pilot for more than a decade and have worked for the Qantas group since 2000.

All this time I have been lucky enough to have flexibility in that work, which has allowed me to keep playing golf. Best of both worlds!

  1. Best golfer you have played with?

 I have been lucky enough to play with many great golfers including Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods (as an amateur), but I also played a few times with Greg Norman when he was at his best and would rate him as the best golfer I played with at the time I played with them. The best amateur I played with, while they were still amateur, was Geoff Ogilvy.

  1. Best golfer you have seen?

Best golfer I have seen would be Jack Nicklaus. I think he would have been great in any era, yet I don’t think the more modern players I have seen would have adapted as well in other eras.

  1. Your best moment in senior golf?

Best moment in Senior golf would be winning 2018 NSW senior championship, which gave me the treble of NSW amateur, mid-amateur, and senior amateur.

  1. What are your golfing aims for 2019 and beyond?

Future golfing aims would be to just keep enjoying playing, and if anything comes out of that it would be a bonus.

  1. Your dream fourball?

Dream fourball would be with my father, my brother and Jack Nicklaus.

  1. Do you have one key swing thought?

For most people I think it is about finding a swing rhythm that suits you and work on that, and then a lot of other things fall into place.

  1. Favourite course and the hardest course in Australia?

Favourite course in Australia would be The Australian Golf Club. It is always in great condition and even with no wind is an interesting test of your golfing abilities. Most difficult course I have played in Australia would be Magenta Shores. It does get easier the more you play it, but it is very penal, with no room for error.

  1. The length young players hit the ball – your thoughts.

I think the equipment has got out of hand, but I can’t see it going back. I would like to see golf balls with a uniform dimple design so that the ball turns more in the air rather than self-correcting as most balls seem to be these days.

  • Best golfing tip you have been given.

Best golfing tip was something I read from Gary Player, “the more you practice, the luckier you get”.

  • How often do you practice? Do you follow a set routine?

I am lucky that I like practicing and find it relaxing to just go hit a few balls down the park, go have a chip and putt or play a few holes. I don’t really have a set practice routine, I more just think about what I might need to do and go with the flow. I practice a lot more than I play.

  • What is your favourite club?

Favourite club or clubs would be my wedges because you can hit so many different shots with them, and that also makes them fun to practice with.

  • Your thoughts on the new Rules of Golf.

I have not played under the new rules, but anything that simplifies the rules and makes the game faster is ok by me.

  • Best course you have played overseas?
  1. Best overseas course would be Muirfield. It has tradition, variety, and you could turn up any day of the year and it would be ready for The Open.
  • Your opinion on course setup for seniors.
  1. Most seniors play golf for enjoyment, so I don’t think the course should be set too difficult. The best player on the day normally still wins even if set up hard or easy, and if players turn up one year and think that a course was way too difficult for them, they probably will not be back the next year.
  • How many holes in one?

I’ve had quite a few holes in one, I think maybe 7 or 8 in competition and about the same number playing socially or practicing. It helps being a member at a course with ten par 3’s!

  • You seem to be getting better with age. Any secrets?

I would like to think I’m getting better with age, but I’ll admit that is not the case. I have found losing flexibility as you get older has changed my game more than anything, so I try exercise with a view to maintaining my flexibility. This next one might be a bit odd, but I also try not to “over golf” if that is such a thing, so that when I get a chance to play I am really looking forward to it.

  • Have you been to the Masters or the British Open?

I have been lucky enough to attend one US Masters in 2016 and three Open Championships, 1986 at Turnberry when I tried to qualify and managed to get an alternate spot but no one withdrew, 2004 at Troon and 2005 at St Andrews. All memorable experiences and worth the effort if you get a chance to go.


NSW player Ken Brewer wins the National Senior Masters at Cape Schanck

Winner of the National Senior Masters Senior Ken Brewer

On day 1, all players were greeted with difficult conditions around the Moonah course with strong winds, rain and a little hail which blew out most scores.

John Mihajevic (Royal Canberra) returned the best score in the morning field with 74. David Edwards (Pennant Hills) and defending champion Ian Frost (Arundel Hills) dealt with the afternoon conditions best, firing steady rounds of 74 to set up a three-way tie on top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of round one. Sitting only 1 behind the leaders was a quartet of talented players which include Stefan Albinski (Mona Vale), Geoff Cranfield (Long Reef), John Davey (Tea Tree Gully) and newly crowned WA Senior champion, Ken Brewer (Lynwood).

Day 2 play moved to the awesome and visually intimidating Robert Trent Jones Jnr, Old Course.  Ken Brewer of Lynwood GC (NSW) stormed to the lead after day 2. Brewer fired five birdies on his way to a four-under-par 68 and sat at one-under for the tournament. What makes this round even more special is that Ken had never seen or played at the Old Course which as most know, requires a lot of local knowledge to navigate your way around the visually intimidating Old course.

Darryl Whitehead (Royal Canberra) sat five shots back in second place and would make up the final group with McLeod GC member Tim Deakin and Gordon Claney (Kingston Heath) who both were a further shot back in a tie for third.

On day 3, which was played again on the Old course, but with more demanding pin positions, which was to test the skills of all players. Going into the final round with a five-shot lead, Brewer fired a great round of 73 on the Old Course to take the title by six shots. Royal Canberra’s Darryl Whitehead claimed second place with Greg Rhodes finishing third.

Brewer finished with 10 birdies for the tournament, five of which came in his 68 on the Old Course yesterday which proved to be the championship winning round. Brewer is the hottest senior golfer in Australia at present with two major titles under his belt within a period of 10 days.

Nett honours went to David McMillan (Dunheved) who fired rounds of 72, 69 and 74 to finish one-under his handicap for the tournament. Second prize went to Geoffrey Beck (Victor Harbor) who finished one shot back and third place was claimed by 2018 champion Ian Frost on 218.  

Nett winner of the National Senior Masters Senior David McMillan

Final results:

216 Ken Brewer (75-68-73)

222 Darryl Whitehead (77-71-74)

224  Greg Rhodes (77-73-74)

225 Mark Abeyaratne (76-75-74), Gordon Claney (78-71-76)

226 Ian Frost (74-76-76), John Davey (75-75-76) and Geoff Cranfield (75-74-76)

 More: http://www.bluesoom.com/



Puskaric wins the Bonnie Doon Seniors

Steve Puskaric

Steve Puskaric (Kogarah) lead a capacity, strong field around the newly renovated Bonnie Doon layout which was presented in pristine condition. For most players this was the first time they would play the new full, 18 hole layout and from all accounts the Ogilvy, Clayton, Cocking and Mead redesigned Doon is a treat to play.

Playing a scratch stableford event, Puskaric mastered the wind and difficult conditions to finish one over the card on 35 points. Coming in second was Matt Taylor (Stonecutters Ridge) on 33 points with evergreen oldie, Greg Stanford (Mona Vale) and Michael Bassingthwaighte (Wollongong) finishing in third place with 31 points.

Craig Fox (Glenmore Heritage) and Michael Musgrave (Toronto) rounded out the top 5 with 30 points. It was also nice to see a new Wakehurst member, Dale Tapper making a return to senior golf.

In the nett event, Paul Gaughan (The SGA) capped off a great day with a super score of 42 stableford points to take the win from John Gojnich (Bonnie Doon) on 40 points. Martin Painter ( Forster-Tuncury) and Richard Lowry (Bonnie Doon) were next on 38 points.


Doughty wins the Jubilee Seniors

Matthew Doughty

Matthew Doughty (Royal Sydney) won his first seniors event with a slick round of four over par 73, around the pretty Bowral GC layout. Doughty finished 2 shots ahead of Darren Payne (Highlands) on 75 with Colin Stockley (Penrith) on 76. Rounding out the top 5 was Noel Wood (Antill Park) and Garry Barber (Belmont) on 78’s.

In the Nett event, Darren Payne (Highlands) took out first place with 71 from Colin Stockley (Penrith) and popular senior, Clark Gibbons (Bowral). Mark Wilmott (Wollongong) was next with 74.


More: http://www.golfnsw.org/



Tatt and Pascoe win the Eureka Seniors

Eureka winners (L to R) Ken O’Brien, Chris Tatt, Helen Pascoe and Debbie Gorin

Local knowledge won out in blustery conditions as locals Chris Tatt and Helen Pascoe claimed the men’s and women’s titles at Buninyong Golf Club in the Eureka Senior Amateur.

Chris Tatt (Buninyong) had to work hard in the Men’s Gross section after starting day two,  four strokes behind. A solid second round of 73 was enough to move up ten spots and claim the title with a total score of 151. In second place after back to back rounds of 77 was Wayne Phillips (Yering Meadows). His final score of 154 was equal to that of overnight leader Ken O’Brien (Rossdale) who finished third on a countback. Rounding out the top five were Ross Percy (Cobram-Barooga) and Alan Bullas (Portsea) who tied on 155.

The Men’s Nett section was won by Ken Bruton (Glenn Waverley) with rounds of 68 and 71 to finish six shots clear in the lead. Second place went to Ignatius Duivenvoorden (Yarram) who finished with nett 145. One shot further back were both Wayne Phillips (Yerang) and Keith Finkelde (Latrobe) on 146.

In the Women’s Scratch Stableford section, Helen Pascoe (Buninyong) was far too good, increasing her overnight lead by a further 5 points to finish with 71 points and the win. The runner-up after finishing strongly with a round of 29 was Gai Skinner (Midlands).

The Womens Stableford title was won by Debbie Gorin (Midlands) who had scores of 36 and 37 for a total of 73. The runner-up on 69 was Jan Smith (Hepburn Springs) who was only separated on a countback from Alison Barrett (Axedale).

More: https://www.golf.org.au/victorian-events-calendar#/customer/1042/schedule/2019/8909



Deakin and O’Connell claim the Laidley Seniors

 In a small field, Tim Deakin (McLeod) proved too strong over the two days after firing 154 at Laidley, finishing two shots ahead of Brad Dowling (Southport) to claim the win. Dowling finished on 156 for the two rounds. In the nett stableford event, Stephen O’Laughlin blitzed the field with 77 points with Robin Stagg finishing second with 69 points.

In the women’s scratch event, Wendy O’Connell won with 162 for the two rounds and finished one shot ahead of Cheryl Sternberg on 163. In the nett event, Wendy O’Connell and Barbara Panzram tied on 148.

More: https://www.golf.org.au/prescare-qld-senior-order-of-merit-events



May 9-10            Duntryleague Senior Open (NSW)

May 13               Victor Harbour Seniors (SA)

May 13-15         Men’s NSW Senior Classic at The Lakes, The Australian, Avondale (NSW) *

May 21               Straithfield Seniors (NSW)

May 23 – 24       Hepburn Springs Senior Amateur (VIC) 

May 24               Pelican Waters PresCare QSOOM (QLD)

May 28               Eastlakes Seniors (NSW)

May 30 – 02       Golf NT Classic (NT)*

June 06               SOOM Manly Seniors (NSW)

June 07               SOOM Oatlands Seniors              (NSW)  

June 09-10         SOOM Catalina Senior Open (NSW)                      

June 11               SOOM Mona Vale Seniors (NSW)                          

June 17               SOOM Pymble Seniors (NSW)   

June 16               Heathcote Senior Amateur (VIC)             

June 17-18         Shepparton Senior Amateur (VIC)

June 20 -21        Tocumwal Senior Amateur (VIC)

June 03               Pacific Harbour PresCare QSOOM (QLD)

June 14               Carbrook PresCare QSOOM (QLD)

June 24               Coolangatta & Tweed Heads PresCare QSOOM (QLD)

June 03               West Lakes Seniors (SA)

June 07               Araluen Senior Open (WA)

July 08 -10          Coomealla Senior Open Championship (VIC)     

July 11-12           SOOM Coffs Coast Seniors (NSW)

July 17 – 19        Gold Coast Senior (QLD) * Level 3 Weighting

July 22                 Cottesloe Senior Open (WA)

July 26 – 28        Darwin Open Amateur (NT) (Senior Component) * Level 2 Weighting          

July 29 – 31        Queensland Men’s Senior Amateur (QLD) * Level 3 Weighting

July 29                 SOOM Carnarvon Seniors (NSW)            


*Part of the Golf Australia Order of Merit (GA OOM) previously known as the Australian Amateur Ranking System.


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