AN Ecstatic Peter Senior has triumphed to take the 2012 Emirates Australian Open in brutal conditions at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney.
The 53 year old became the oldest winner of a major Australian tournament with his one stroke victory over Brendan Jones (71).
Senior shot an even par 72 on a day when wind gusts up to 80 kp/h caused play to be suspended for over three hours and brought down a television tower on the 18th green.
“It was probably one of toughest days I have ever seen on a golf course,” Senior said.
Senior clearly had his heart in his mouth on the 18th tee with failing light and gusting winds making the thought of a bogey unthinkable.
Senior was at 4-under while Jones was in the clubhouse on 3-under and Justin Rose two holes back on 2-under.
Senior managed a solid par to put Jones out of the picture and in the end Rose needed a hole-in-one on the last to force a playoff – which would no doubt have meant coming back the next day. Rose didn’t spoil the fairytale and bogeyed.
It was hard to tell who was more ecstatic, Senior or his 18 year old son Mitchell, who has been his caddy for two years and has experienced all the close shaves the pair have encountered on the US Champions Tour.
“I am so happy,” Mitchell said. “I feel so good I can’t even explain it.”
Senior was beaming, as was his wife June who wasn’t too perturbed that they had missed their 7pm flight home to Brisbane and at least theoretically didn’t have any accommodation.
“I thought these days were over,” Senior said after accepting the Stonehaven Cup. “I’ve had my son on the bag for the last three years and we have lost three playoffs on the Champions Tour. Mitch is a great kid, I have a lot of time for him, we’re a pretty close family. Mitch, I know you’re down there somewhere, we finally did it mate.”
“So Mitch’s one percent is looking pretty good,” Senior joked.
Senior became the oldest player to win the Australian Open. Peter Thomson won the event in 1972 aged 43.
Senior was already the oldest winner of an Australian title after his win at the 2010 Australian PGA Championship. This is his second Australian Open with the first in 1989. He now has 30 professional wins worldwide with 21 in Australia.
“I like being in contention,” he said. “All the guys do. When I was playing my best golf through the late 80s, early 90s, I was one of those guys. Craig Parry was the same. Once we had a sniff, we hung on like rabid dogs. We hung on and hung on and hung on and at the end we sometimes came out on top. I have always been a fighter. When the conditions are tough I feel that half the guys are out of the competition because they think it is going to be too difficult. With me being as short as I am, I don’t feel too much wind out there.”
Only six players bettered par with the round of the day going to another veteran in Tom Watson. The American shot a 3-under 69 in admittedly more benign conditions earlier in the day.
2012 Australian Open Final Results