Popular Queenslanders confirm for QLD Open
BY iseekgolf.com | Australasian PGA Tour | 2002 Queensland Open | Preview | 12 Sep 2002
Three of Queensland’s most popular golf professionals, Wayne Grady, Peter Senior and Peter McWhinney, have confirmed they will be starters in the Queensland Open championship at Ipswich Golf Club in October.
The trio, who are considered to follow only Greg Norman as Queensland golf’s crowd favourites, have told organisers they want to ensure the Open not only returns to the golf calender but remains as an annual event.
Grady, now the chairman of the Australasian PGA Tour, and a former winner of the US PGA title, has never won his home state Open, despite numerous attempts.
His closest result was when he lost a sudden death play off to Graham Marsh at Royal Queensland in 1982.
Despite being deeply involved in PGA administration these days, the 45-year-old Grady says he will come to the Open ready to give it his best shot for a win.
“I’ll be playing in the Victorian PGA and some other lead up events in NSW which will make me confident going to Ipswich,” he said.
“Any win is great but it would be lovely to add the Queensland Open title to my record.”
Grady admits he will have a small advantage over some of his opponents because his golf course design consultancy has been advising Ipswich Golf Club on preparations for the Open.
“We have put in two new bunkers on the 9th and 17th so I will know how far they are,” he quipped.
Grady said he is in no hurry to turn 50 and qualify for the Seniors Tour and his main hope at the moment is to win his first Queensland Open title.
For McWhinney, the Open represents a big step in his comeback to competition golf after a near-fatal car accident more than two years ago.
“The last three months of this year will be critical for me to see how my rehabilitation has been,” McWhinney said.
At 46 years of age, McWhinney has been preparing for his comeback with a range of fitness regimes, particularly swimming, and he will lead up to Ipswich by playing in several one and two day events in the south.
Now based at Pelican Waters on the Sunshine Coast, McWhinney said he enjoys playing in Queensland because he has a special inter-action with the crowds and he loves being the “entertainer.”
Peter Senior, the only previous Open winner of the trio, has re-organised his busy overseas schedule to ensure he is able to play in his home state again.
Senior, who always draws the bulk of on-course fans when Greg Norman is not present, was a popular winner of the Open at Royal Queensland in 1984 and was well in contention when the Open was last played, at Nudgee in 1999.
He faded to finish behind Shane Tait but still had a huge gallery throughout the four days.
A win for Senior at Ipswich would put him level with his lesser-profile brother Jeff who won twice u once as an amateur in 1979 and then as a professional in 1992.
This year’s Open, which carries prizemoney of $100,000 and Order of Merit points for the Australasian PGA rankings, will be played over 72 holes from October 31 to November 3.