Senior extends lead at Australian PGA

BY | Australasian PGA Tour | 2003 Australian PGA Championship | Round Two | 12 Dec 2003
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As day two at the Australian PGA Championship draws to a close, Peter Senior, who produced a brilliant morning round of 65, remains atop the leaderboard and looks back on the field from a position that was never really threatened all day.

Such was the quality of Senior’s play through both days that the closest anyone would get to him once he had finished his round, was when Rod Pampling got to eleven under through twelve holes.

Senior signaled last week at the Mastercard Australian Masters that things were on the improve and that the competitive juices were beginning to flow once again. He faded a little at the weekend there, but with that run under the belt he was closer to his peak and this week we have seen him get even closer. He takes a five shot lead into tomorrow’s third round over Rod Pampling with a further shot back to Nick O’Hern and Craig Parry.

“I knew I had to take advantage of the perfect morning conditions. The most important thing you want to do, especially when you shoot a good afternoon round on Thursday, is to capitalise on the start. You have to take advantage of the good greens, good conditions and little wind the following morning. I’m really happy with the way I did that today and the way I started I thought I could birdie every hole.”

In most situations like this, it is very much a case of this event being Peter Seniors’ to win or lose. A final 36 holes of say three of four under will make it very difficult for those chasing to follow. Working against Pampling also, is the fact that he has won only the one event of significance, the Canon Challenge several years ago in Sydney. This is a much more accomplished and complete player now however and given the way he has been swinging the club since his return, he may yet make it a second career win this week.

Those further back can’t be dismissed either.

O’Malley seems to have a new found confidence in his putter and, as has been so often the case in Australian golf in the last decade, the name O’Malley is in the mix heading into the weekend.

Nick O’Hern, who won his only professional title on this golf course with the last tournament of the 20th century, the Schweppes Coolum Classic. O’Hern is well in the mix and, having played reasonably well last week and in Europe in recent months, he too can be expected to do well over the weekend.

Pampling three putted the final hole which opened up Senior’s cushion to five, but he too is looking a much improved golfer after two years in the intensity of the US PGA Tour. Gary Edwin won’t know quite which way to look tomorrow (he coaches both Pampling and Senior) but at least he will only have to focus on the one group although if Peter Lonard gets it going, then he may be running around in circles. Another of his pupils, Scott Gardiner is at five under.

New Zealander Gareth Paddison finally showed why he is considered one of the best young players from this part of the world. Two years after his third place professional debut at the 2001 Australian PGA at Royal Queensland, Paddison is five under through ten for today’s round. He faltered slightly with a bogey at the dangerous par three 11th, but he then followed with four more birdies to finish with 65 and now stands at eight under and in 6th place. He has shown a tendency to get to far ahead of himself when in contention but today he faltered only briefly, which is a good sign for his future.

Also in the mix are Adam Scott at seven under, along with Stephen Allan and first round leader Steve Collins with those at six under including Americans Stewart Cink and Ryan Palmer. Palmer won the Clearwater Classic in New Zealand earlier this year and has played well enough on the Nationwide Tour this year, to secure his PGA Tour card.

Lonard may be too far back at four under but he is only six behind the second placed player and a big round from him tomorrow may yet see him back into the thick of things going into Sunday.

Greg Norman is at three under in 31st place and thankfully for the organisers made the weekend. At one stage in the back nine that seemed under threat as the wheels began to fall off and Leyton Hewitt saw another side to caddying when the bag gets heavier and the communication eases off a tad. Birdies at 15 and 16 changed all that however, and although he bogeyed the last, he is still there.

Over to you Peter Senior.

» Peter Senior Interview

» Peter O’Malley Interview

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