09 Dec 2012
John Senden's two shot lead at the Emirates Australian Open is a nice buffer but with 17 players within five shots of his lead and the chance of a storm hitting the Lakes Golf Club during this afternoon then it would appear that no lead is safe.
Senden has won just two events in the last 14 years and just five in his 20 year professional career. One of the latest two has been an Australian Open, the other his one and only PGA Tour event (the John Deere Classic).
Senden though is slowly but surely building his game, confidence and self belief to a point where winning should be a more regular occurrence.
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Senden openly admits he has not always had as much belief in his game as many others. "I am playing some of the best golf of my life," said Senden after his opening round of 66. "I need to believe in that and keep going forward."
"The results have shown in the past couple of years. I have been inside the top 30 (on the PGA Tour) and been consistent. I have taken those feelings and brought them home to Australia. I feel better for that. I am learning every year. I feel I can keep improving and keeping knocking on the door in every event I play."
"It is about gaining the experience, being in form, winning other tournaments to handle that situation better," he added referring to his improving efforts in major championships. "I have not been in contention a lot in major championships but I think if I keep improving and keep knocking on the door in the regular events, I think I can set the goals and knock on the door in the major championships.
"It is about standing on the stage and being comfortable. That’s where it’s at. I feel I am getting better at that, moving forward and keep on improving. That is where my whole career has been going. I need to keep continuing in that direction and keep everything simple and just play.
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Like most of the great ball strikers (and he is very much in that category) Senden creates a lot of chances and puts himself in contention or on the edge of it on a regular basis. That he has only those two victories in the last fourteen years tells the story of a player who has not always been able to convert the chances he creates on the golf course and in terms of his overall record.
Sender's putting has been his nemesis throughout his career but he has worked hard on his belief in that regard. Like those who create so many chances through their greens in regulation performances, however, putting stats can be a little misleading as it is sometimes a case of the more chances you create the more you will miss.
Commercially and privately John Senden is a success, but like all players at his level and above the game is no longer about accumulating money it is more about accumulating titles.
Today he gets the chance the chance to do both but there is little doubt that John Senden will take a great deal more pleasure in holding up the Australian Open trophy today than he will the $A225,000 cheque.
Winning then national Open is always a dream," said Senden after his third round. "But there is a long way to go. I have to concentrate on what I do. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. It would be my best year but the last two years have been pretty good."