With the US Champions Tour getting underway for 2013 we publish this article on Peter Senior that appears in the January edition of Inside Golf. In it, Senior talks about his highly successful 2012 and his hopes to finally crack a win in the US. The story, by Brian O’Hare, was written shortly after Senior’s fighting win at the 2012 Australian Open.
PETER SENIOR stood on the 18th tee of the final round of the 2012 Australian Open with what looked like pain etched across his face.
Always a fierce competitor, you could tell just how much the 53 year old wanted to win.
Beside him stood his 18 year old son and full time caddie Mitchell. Senior the younger didn’t look too much more comfortable.
The pair had been through some close scrapes in the past couple of years, particularly in three playoff losses in the rarefied air of the US Champions Tour. A win had always been tantalisingly close but had always escaped them.
Now a win, and a big win on home soil, was within their grasp. Conditions at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney couldn’t have been worse. It was late and light was failing rapidly. Earlier, play had been suspended for over three hours when gale force winds knocked over an on course television tower.
Now the winds were gusting back to their peak of around 80 kilometres an hour and the view up the par three fairway to a floodlit green didn’t look all that inviting.
At 4-under Senior had a slender one stroke lead over clubhouse leader Brendan Jones and behind him not a bad pressure golfer in Justin Rose had two holes to make up a two stroke deficit.
Add to all this, screaming at the back of Senior’s mind was the sure knowledge that he just hadn’t been happy with his golf game for some six months.
Speaking with Senior on the Friday of the Open after his opening rounds of 75 and 68 the last thing on his mind seemed to be the possibility of winning a golf tournament.
He just wanted to get the Open and the Australian PGA Championship the following week out of the way so he could put his feet up and have a few weeks break from golf over the Christmas and New Year period.
“I’m just not playing well,” Senior told me. “I think my brain is cooked a little bit and I just want to have a couple of weeks off.”
It is a measure of the man he was able to achieve what he did at a time when he just wasn’t at all happy with his ball striking.
Senior had a 2012 on the Champions Tour many would be ecstatic with. In fact, many would be ecstatic just to make the tour. There are many pro’s who have tried and failed. Senior had a second, a third, ten top 10’s and 18 top 25’s playing against some of the biggest names in golf. In the process he earned US$1,077,781 in prize money. In his three years on America’s prestigious over 50’s tour Senior has impressed all with his consistency, it has just been that first win that has been a bottleneck.
Returning to home turf for the summer the top ten form continued with a great weekend at the Talisker Australian Masters seeing him finish 6th to Adam Scott and there was also a disappointing 6th to Peter Fowler defending his Australian Senior Open title in Perth.
“I played pretty solid earlier in the year but the last part of the year I didn’t play very well and also the last few weeks I have played at home haven’t been real good either,” said Senior, adding that good putting was keeping him in touch.
“I’m still scoring well. I’m not playing good but I am scoring well, there’s a big difference.
“I’m not really confident (of doing well on the Open weekend). I’ve made the cut but I’m not confident of shooting anything really low. I had four under today and I had a couple of three putts in that but you never know. You can still play badly and still score on this course if you birdie the holes that you can. We’ll just have to see what happens.”
We all know what happened. As Senior publicly told Mitchell as part of his Stonehaven Cup acceptance speech: “We finally did it mate.”
Mitchell was thrilled beyond words. “I am so happy. I feel so good I can’t even explain it,” the now seasoned caddie said privately later.
[quote]The [Champions Tour] guys know I can play, it is just a matter of time [/quote]
With seven weeks off and the joy of winning under their belt, the pair will no doubt be ready and raring to go in the US in 2013.
“I’m not really frustrated [about not winning in the US]. I have played pretty consistently the last three years, I’ve lost three playoffs, had 25 top tens. The guys know I can play, it is just a matter of time,” Senior said.
At any time, the old fighting spirit Senior is renowned for can kick in.
“I like being in contention,” he told his winner’s media conference at the Australian Open. “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.”
His son might have to be a good fighter as well.
“Mitchell’s one per cent is looking good,” Senior joked.