24 Mar 2021 | Professional golf |
Ageless Senior dares to dream
by Mark Hayes
There aren’t many key Australian golf trophies without the name Peter Senior engraved upon them.
For that matter, there aren’t many decades in which the evergreen Queenslander hasn’t saluted professionally.
Now, at Concord, a course that has twice been totally redesigned during Senior’s epic career, he hasn’t given up hope that he can rectify those two anomalies at the Golf Challenge New South Wales Open.
It’s scarcely believable that Senior has turned 61, but his storybook career confirms otherwise with wins over golf’s who’s who in fields containing Greg Norman in the ‘70s to Ian Woosnam in the ‘80s, Tom Watson in the ‘90s, Rod Pampling in the ‘00s and even Bryson DeChambeau in the ‘10s among dozens globally.
But don’t dare suggest that he won’t stretch that extraordinary streak into a sixth decade, despite playing against a raft of players far younger than his own children.
“Golf’s a number, not an age. I always think of Tom Watson nearly winning the British Open at 60 years of age,” Senior said of his rationale.
“Physically everything is going well, my game’s OK.
“I’m a bit out of my depth (length-wise) … I played with some young guys here (in practice today) and they are 70 or 80 metres in front of me.
“But you’ve got to put a score on the board and I’ve always been good at doing that and hopefully I’ll do it again this week.
“I’m not daunted, it’s never really bothered me. Putting a score on the board is all I worry about.”
Senior predicted a shootout if forecast good weather materialised and the course remained soft after the weekend deluge in Sydney.
He said many of the powerful youngsters would drive a couple of Concord’s short par-4s (notably the first and 13th) and reach most of the par-5s with mid-irons.
“And the ball’s not running, so they’re not getting into any trouble, so I think the scores will be low.
“(I’ll have to) get off to a good start and have a good short game this week.
“I can’t reach the par-5s (in two), so I’m going to have to pitch well from 50 yards, the shorter holes I’ve got to take advantage of.
“And there’s a couple of par-4s that I hit 3-wood into today – but that’s OK, it’s all part of the game and nothing I haven’t done before.”
Senior lauded the course’s condition after almost 400mm of rain has fallen here in the past 10 days.
He also praised the redesign that officially opened in April 2018, saying the clearing of trees was the most notable change.
“The tightness of the fairways (has changed). If you missed a fairway here – and they weren’t very wide (back then) – you’d be in all sorts of trouble with overhanging trees.
“Now there’s quite a bit of room.
“But I don’t have trouble hitting fairways, I have more trouble reaching them now,” he joked. Senior is one of just five players in this week’s field to have played a NSW Open at Concord; the most recent of its 12 previous times having hosted the state championship was in 1988.
But he’s the only one of those – including Peter Fowler, Peter Lonard, Peter O’Malley and Glenn Joyner – to have stood on the podium here.
“I have always played pretty well here. I had a chance to win a NSW Open here (when Ian Stanley won and relegated Senior to runner-up in 1985).
“It’s always good to come back to places where you’ve played well before.”
Senior was runner-up to another legend in Ian Baker-Finch a year earlier in 1984 at The Lakes.
But that’s as close as he’s come to the Kel Nagle Cup.
So, in his 44th year as a professional, does he dare to dream?
“It would be something, wouldn’t it?” he said.
Yes, it really would.
Catch the NSW Open on Fox Sports & Kayo on Saturday 27th 2-5pm and Sunday 28th 12-5pm (AEDT). Visit the website for more.
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