Change of plans for Senior at PGA

Instead of bacon and eggs and a cappuccino at the Hope Island Golf Club on the Gold Coast tomorrow morning, Peter Senior will face a stern examination over the final few holes of the Australian PGA Championship.

Play was initially suspended at 1.55pm as a result of unplayable conditions, the rain unfortunately not letting up and later in the afternoon play was abandoned for the day.

"That's my normal thing to go to the golf club, have breakfast and read the papers and now that will have to be Tuesday," said Senior after he had taken the lead for the first time this week with an outward nine of 35 to lead by one over Peter Fowler and Bobby Gates.

What had been developing into a gripping final nine holes at the Australian PGA Championship at Hyatt Regency Coolum this afternoon was brought to a halt by persistent rain which had begun at 6.00pm last evening and had fallen in varying levels of intensity since.

That play even got underway on day four was a reflection of the quality of the drainage system at the Robert Trent Jones Jnr designed layout. By 1.55pm this afternoon however, with 15 inches of rain in the past eight days, enough was enough and played was called with the hope that it might be restarted before darkness set in.

That hope soon turned to despair as rain continued to fall and at 4.28 played was finally called for the day. As a result, play will recommence at 6.00am tomorrow morning with the final group of tournament leader, Peter Senior, and joint second placed, Bobby Gates, having just hit their tee shots at the 10th when the siren sounded.

The problem for Senior when play resumes is that he is in the middle of the trees to the right of the 10th fairway and although he has a way forward his chances of salvaging par are marginal. If that is to be the case then the door opens even further for the chasers.

Senior was unhappy with certain aspects of the decision making process that lead to the suspension of play. "I have played in these conditions many times. I am just a little disappointed the round wasn't called earlier. The rain was not an issue but when the fairways become so waterlogged that you can't hit golf shots well that is when played should be called.

"Poor old Bobby Gates, the bunker at the 9th was riddled with water and although he nearly holed his putt for par it was tough. I called an official on the 9th green to have a talk to him as I had a chip from over the back of the green which was surrounded by water and I could not drop it anywhere. I am not going to repeat the response I got but when we got on to the 10th tee the tee was riddled with water. When we took our stance we were sinking on the tee.

"My ball is a dead as a doornail (in the trees on the right). I have a little shot out of there and can hopefully knock it out and have a wedge in. There is a chance I can still make par. The other thing is that we are now asked to come back to start at 6.00am. We have to get up at 4.00 in the morning and may have a delay even then."

Senior was asked if he can still win the event. "I am playing good enough and even if I make bogey at the 10th I feel I am playing good enough to keep going. There is no reason why I can't win but the tournament is wide open with as many as ten guys still with a chance of winning. Richard Green and Geoff Ogilvy have made a little bit of a run and so the tournament is wide open and it is very exciting."

The day started with American Bobby Gates as the one shot leader over Peter Senior and Aaron Townsend but Gates' early bogey at the par three second after finding the back bunker would see him, Senior and Townsend all tied for the lead.

Gates regained control with birdies at the 3rd and 4th but Senior crept closer when he birdied the par five 5th. A potential turning point in the tournament may well have come at the par three 8th when Gates almost inexplicably missed a two foot putt for par and he was again tied in the lead with Senior.

Then, with the course reaching saturation point, the final pairing played the 9th and after missing the fairway left and then finding the greenside bunker nearly 30 metres from the flag Gates was faced with playing one of the toughest shots in the game from a wet bunker.

After taking relief from surface water in that bunker, Gates narrowly missed a par saving putt and as they headed to the 10th tee Senior led the event for the very first time this week. Senior's lead was by one over Gates and Peter Fowler but the 51 year old has his concerns at the 10th play being called just seconds after he had found the trees with his tee shot.

Several players have also joined the fray however including Matthew Griffin, Geoff Ogilvy and Richard Green, all 4 under for the day and ten under for the tournament and just two behind Senior's precarious lead. Also at 10 under is Andre Stolz who through eleven holes is at even par for the day.

Robert Allenby, John Senden and Aaron Townsend are at 9 under and not without hope.

It might be early and it might still be a very damp golf course but the closing stages of the 2010 Australian PGA Championship promise something very special.

For those who make the effort to attend the very first occasion this event has gone into five days at Hyatt Regency Coolum, they may well be very pleased they did.

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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