Mike Harwood chips on to a green at Byron Bay yesterday.
Mike Harwood chips on to a green at Byron Bay yesterday. DAVID NIELSEN

It's Senior's PGA at Bay

PERSISTENT rain yesterday was not enough to stop Peter Senior from a runaway victory in the Australian PGA Seniors Championship at the Byron Bay Golf Club.

Senior finished the 54-hole tournament nine under the card, a commanding nine shots ahead of Larry Canning (NSW) and another of the favourites, Mike Harwood (Victoria).

His comfortable win never looked in doubt yesterday, despite missing plenty of birdie opportunities in the opening holes of the final round.

But while not seeing his putts drop, Senior’s two-shot lead over Harwood at the start of the day had extended to four strokes by the turn.

And despite bogeys at the 11th and Byron’s notorious par-three 12th (normally the third hole for members), Senior hit back to birdie Byron’s signature par-five 13th after a terrific wedge approach to 12 feet from a well-guarded flag.

With Senior up by five with five to play, he drove the final nail into his competitors’ coffins with another birdie at the 15th, leaving the European and Asian tour winner a leisurely walk for the final three holes.

Senior, like the galleries who turned out to watch him, could not find too much fault with his performance over the three days.

“All in all I played pretty well. From tee to green it was pretty good,” he said.

“The course was fantastic and we had a lot of scoring opportunities.”

Senior, who became eligible to play on the seniors tour only this year, said it had been a difficult final day.

“Towards the end of today the fairways got water-logged, and we were actually pretty lucky to get finished,” he said.

The Queenslander will play on the lucrative US Seniors Tour next year after winning the qualifying tournament but said he would still try to make it back to defend his Senior Australian PGA title – if it was played at the same time.

While there was no denying Senior’s excellent 72 in horrible conditions yesterday, it paled in comparison with his performance during the third round on Saturday, when he shot a blistering nine-under-par 63.

That near-flawless display gave him a buffer which only grew as his challengers wilted.

After Senior and nine other players shot sub-par rounds on Saturday, the course exacted plenty of revenge yesterday as the rain fell.

Canning was the only player to break par with a one-under 71, his low round catapulting him into equal second with Harwood, who faded with a final round 79.

The tough conditions put an exclamation mark on Senior’s dominant performance.

After the presentation one fan came up to Senior and advised him she would be happy to have a nett score like his.

His self-effacing reply was that on some days he felt the same way.

Yesterday wasn’t one of them.

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