09 Dec 2012
It was the hardest and longest of golfing days, brutal in fact. Peter Senior called it “one of the toughest days I’ve ever seen on a golf course,’’ and needless to say, he’s seen a few days.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Peter Senior is a dangerous man in a scrap, has been for 30 years, and nothing’s changed. At 53, the bulldog Senior is the Emirates Australian Open champion, the oldest in the tournament’s history.
“I really thought these days were over, but golf is such a funny game,’’ he said after tapping in for par at the 18th to seal the win at The Lakes. “One minute you think you’re down, next thing you’re up. I didn’t play particularly well this week, but I got it up and down from some places all week. Today was no exception.’’
His triumph came over a field that included two world top 10 players, Justin Rose and Adam Scott. “Not for one moment do I think I’m as good as those guys,’’ he said. “I’ve had a good week and I’ve got it done. But I’m getting a bit long in the tooth now. If the conditions were good, the really good players would’ve shone this week, but these are the conditions I thrive in. I just battle it out.’’
He is an extraordinary competitor still. After a lull in his career in his 40s when he focussed on his family and his successful business, he has taken up a spot on the senior tour in America and thrived. Really, he plays virtually as well as he ever has.
“When I was playing my best golf in the late-80s, early-90s, I was one of those guys – Craig Parry was the same – where once we had a sniff, we hung on,’’ he said. “We were like rabid dogs. We just hung on and hung on and in the end sometimes we came out on top. I’ve always been a fighter. When the conditions are pretty tough, I always feel half the guys are out of the competition because they’re saying ‘it’s too difficult out there’. With me, as short as I am, I don’t feel the wind out there.’’
Senior clutched the Stonehaven Cup and called the win “the most special’’ of his career because of the presence of his 18-year-old son Mitch on his bag. They had endured some near-misses in the past two years, including three play-off defeats.
“Just once I would like to say once ‘Mitch, well done, we’ve done it’. Jeez at one o’clock I didn’t even want to go out.’’