Senior turns back clock at Aussie PGA

51 year old Peter Senior has today turned back the clock with a dramatic win at the Australian PGA Championship at Hyatt Regency Coolum. Senior survived a shootout against several of Australia's best.

A birdie at the 72nd hole forced a playoff with Australian Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy and when Ogilvy three putted the second extra hole, Senior had become the oldest winner of this prestigious event in Australian golf. It is Senior's third win in the event following victories at Riverside Oaks in Sydney in his great season in 1989 and his victory at Hyatt Regency Coolum in 2003.

24 players were forced to return to the golf course at 6.00am to complete their final round and while the leader-board was packed with chances at that point not many would have foreseen the drama that was about to unfold. Three players reached 12 under at various stages during the final two hours, Ogilvy the first to do so when he birdied the 16th to grab the outright lead. Twenty minutes later Andre Stolz joined him but when Stolz eventually found the water at the last, his chance had gone.

Ogilvy completed a final round of 66 about an hour ahead of the final group and waited in hope that his score of 12 under would be good enough. He dodged a bullet with Stolz's final hole mishap, another when Nick O'Hern missed a makeable chance at the final hole and another when Peter Fowler missed from 14 feet. Those three would finish in a share of second and so it would be left to Senior to delay the finish of the event even further. An 8 iron from 158 yards finished 9 feet from the flag on the final hole of regulation play and when that went in Senior had joined Geoff Ogilvy in a playoff.

Both players two putted the first extra hole for pars before Ogilvy's miss from 5 feet. "What a great way to finish the year off," said Senior. "I thought when I saw so many guys at 11 under and then the guys got to 12 under and I wasn't playing well over the first few holes I was a little concerned. The two best shots were the ones I hit down 18. To birdie the last and get into the playoff is just fantastic.

"I would have been happier to have holed my putt than have him three putt but he is going to a win a hell of a lot more championships than I will. "This has been my first full year of golf in nine years. The first part of the year I played really well but got a little tired towards the end because I played so many tournaments. I started to play really well again in Perth at the Senior Australian Open and even in Sydney last week I played well from tee to green but had trouble with my putting. "I worked on this with Gary Edwin and his son Luke and we studied it as I felt like I was hitting a lot good putts but I was over rotating the face that and they got me to stand a little closer to it.

It is really the first time I have seen a line in about five years so it is nice to stand over a putt with a little bit more certainty now." "I think the older you get the more you treasure the victories you have as they do not come along all that often," added Senior when asked as to where this win sits. It is really nice to win any tournament but when you get older you cherish it more. To win the Australian PGA Championship against a reasonably good field is nice."

Ogilvy won the Australian Order of Merit and the Von Nida Trophy that is associated with it but he had mixed thoughts about his week. "This was a bit of a bonus really. I always felt in this tournament that if I had a great round that I could do well but I never really had any great rounds until the Sunday. "I don't mind losing in a playoff but three putting is not a lot of fun and hitting such a weak shot in from the fairway wasn't that good either." Ogilvy was referring to the second he hit to the second playoff hole when his second from the middle of the fairway finished 45 feet right of the hole resulting in the three putt. "If you told me at the start of the last round however that I would make a payoff I would have taken it that is for sure. It was another good week and I played well again."

For Senior he will now host his own Charity Day at Hope Island later this week and return to the Champions Tour in early February. In the meantime he can savour this victory which is just reward for one of Australia's most popular and giving golfers. Peter Senior gives a lot to the game in this country but today he was rewarded with a victory which he might look back on as one of his finest.

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