VETERAN Peter Senior toppled Geoff Ogilvy in a sudden-death play-off on Monday to win his third Australian PGA Championship title 21 years after his first.
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The 51-year-old Senior won with a par on the second extra hole at the Hyatt Regency Coolum course after Ogilvy, last week’s Australian Open winner, missed his two metre par putt.
It was former tour chairman Senior’s 28th career title and his 20th on the Australasian PGA Tour.
“What a great way to finish the year off,” said Senior, who also won in 1989 (Riverside Oaks) and 2003 (Coolum).
“I hit my two best shots of the day both on the 18th hole,” he added, having made a three-metre birdie putt on his 72nd hole to force the play-off.
Former US Open champion Ogilvy returned to the water-logged resort course early on Monday to complete his rain-delayed final round in six-under-par 66, seizing the clubhouse lead at 12-under 276.
Ogilvy (70-69-71-66) then watched on as several rivals failed to force a play-off before ice-cool Senior (70-67-68-71), the last player to finish, drained his birdie to catch him and continue the drama.
“I was surprised 12 under held up,” said Ogilvy, annoyed at himself for missing his putt on the second play-off hole to hand Senior the $270,000 winner’s cheque.
“It was a bonus to be a in a play-off. I was more annoyed at missing that putt on the second play-off hole.
”You don’t like losing with a three putt.“
Battler Andre Stolz (67-69-7071) stepped onto the last tee at 12 under and in a share of the lead with Ogilvy only to plough his drive into the water which runs down the left side of the fairway of a treacherous finishing hole.
Senior was listed at 126-1 by bookmakers after his opening round of 70.
However he is not the oldest winner of an Australasian tour title.
Kel Nagle holds that honour after he won the New Zealand Open at 55. Nagle celebrates his 90th birthday on Tuesday week.
Can Senior weather the storm?
TWO-time champion Peter Senior will today resume the final round of the Australian PGA Championships with a slender one-shot lead.
But Senior, 51, who dislodged American Bobby Gates from the top of the leader board yesterday, will be confronted by a host of challengers and a testing shot from the trees when he returns to the par-four 10th.
In teeming rain, Senior miscued his tee shot moments before play was suspended at 2pm, which was too late as far as the veteran was concerned.
“I was a little disappointed that the round wasn't called a little earlier. A lot of the guys were suffering out there,” he said.
“Rain is not a big issue but when the fairways become so water-logged that you can't actually hit a golf shot, that's when it should be called.”
He even sympathised with his main rival, who struggled to break free from a sand trap.
“Poor old Bobby Gates. I mean, the bunker was riddled with water on the ninth hole there,” Senior said.
“He had to play his shot ...when the course is unplayable the day should be called and that's it.”
Gates also believed play should have been halted before he played the ninth, but was diplomatic about the bunker ruling.
“There was nowhere to take any relief, no flat lie to place the ball,” he said. “The official gave his best interpretation of the rule at the time.”
Gates made bogey, allowing Senior to snatch the lead.
But then Senior, who said his feet were sinking into the 10th tee, finished the day in trouble after forcing his ball into the trees.
“They could have called it before we even hit the tee shot but they let us go ahead and hit the tee shots and then called. That's what I am really upset about it,” he said.
Despite his ball's precarious position, Senior believes he can recover to make a run at the Kirkwood Cup.
“It is as dead as a door nail. It's about three feet from the tree and I have got a little shot that I can knock out and get my next one on with a wedge,” he said.
“Even if I bogey the 10th hole, which there is every possibility that I will unless I hit a good shot in, I'm playing good enough to keep it going.”
Senior, who won the Australian PGA Championship in 1989 and in 2003, started yesterday in second place but picked up a shot on the par-five fifth to move to 12-under.
The sentimental favourite is one shot clear of Gates and fellow stalwart Peter Fowler, while four players, including pre-tournament favourite Geoff Ogilvy, are a further shot behind.
“I know Geoff Ogilvy and Richard Green are making a little bit of a run. They are good players who are used to being in the hunt,” Senior said.
“The tournament is wide open. There are 10 guys who have a chance of winning the event, so it is very exciting.”
It's the first time in the championship's history and the first time in more than 20 years that an Australian major has been postponed until a Monday.
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