Lonard crowned 2003 Australian Open champion

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2003 Australian Open | Wrap | 21 Dec 2003
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Peter Lonard has added the Australian Open crown to his Australian PGA and Australian Masters titles to cement his position as the most dominant golfer in Australian golf, certainly at home, over the past two years.

His win today at the Australian Open at the Moonah Links was done in typical Peter Lonard fashion, grinding out the last day to wear down his opposition in relentless style again, hardly missing a green and at the end he was the man left standing as many came and went in their challenge for the title.

In doing so Peter has secured the top spot on the Australian PGA Tour money list with AUD$604,000, a massive $204,000 ahead of runner up Andre Stolz and will likely improve his current world ranking, ensuring that he finishes well inside the top fifty and have his chance once again at the majors next year.

Peter started slowly again today with a bogey at the second but it was almost rock solid golf from there on. The putt he holed at the sixth, he would say later, really got him back on track with his putting which he had been struggling with in the early part of the round. Another birdie came at the ninth after a brilliant second to under a metre and he would add yet another at the 13th after a fine second with a five iron which flew right over the top of the flag.

“I was thinking about a six iron but decided that I would look foolish if I came up short, especially on that hole so smoothed the five iron right over the top of the flag to set up the birdie that came at a crucial time.”

His second to the 16th was brilliant.

“It was 105 yards and just perfect for my lob wedge so I knew I could just go ahead and hit it. Then the ten footer at the last had just a little left to right in it and I had seen on the big screen that Stephen had lipped out at seventeen and knew if I could make it then it would be important to ensure at least a playoff and in it went.”

“It’s nice to have my name on the title,” he added in response to a question. “The names on the trophy represent the best Australian golf has had to offer over a long period and although I don’t pretend to be amongst that absolute elite, it is a nice feeling to be part of Australian golf’s history.”

“This is a great end to a long year and now I look to winning in the US as my next goal.”

Stephen Leaney and Chris Downes tied for second after the young Queenslander birdied the last to regain some lost ground. Peter Fowler and Craig Jones tied for fourth.

The day and the week, however, would belong to Peter Lonard, a man who has faced adversity and overcome it and now stands as the most successful Australian golfer at home in recent years. His mission now is to take that success overseas and win in the US. Given his growing confidence and improving game then that win, which has proven so elusive until now, seems only a matter of time and a very short time at that.

The round of the day came from Victorian Craig Spence, who with the confidence of regaining his card at the European Tour school has found a new lease of golfing life. His course record 65 today saw him move from 43rd to 11th, surely his best finish in some time.

Despite the attempts by many to downplay the event and the venue the Australian Open was a success and Moonah Links stood the test as a tournament venue.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.


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