Senior’s moment as 56-year-old wins Australian Masters

Peter Senior: Final-round 68 secured a two-stroke success. Picture: AFP
Peter Senior: Final-round 68 secured a two-stroke success. Picture: AFP
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Peter Senior claimed his third Australian Masters title yesterday and set another age record in his home country as the 56-year-old shot a final-round 3-under 68 for a two-stroke win.

The Champions Tour regular became the oldest player to win the Masters, three years after becoming the oldest to capture the Australian Open. He also won the Australian PGA, the third major Down Under, when he was 51.

Senior finished with an eight-under 276 at Huntingdale. American amateur Bryson DeChambeau (67), who won this year’s US Amateur and collegiate NCAA title, tied for second with Australians John Senden (70) and Andrew Evans (71).

Adam Scott, who led after the first two rounds, shot 69 and finished at four-under, four strokes behind and in fifth place.

Senior’s last win at the Australian Masters came in 1995, also at Huntingdale, when his 21-year-old son, Mitch, who has caddied for him for the past five years, was only an infant.

One of Senior’s best shots of the day came as he made the turn. He hit a hybrid from 220 yards to 18 inches on the difficult par-4, 476-yard tenth that has played as a par-5 in previous tournaments.

“It’s always a tough hole, normally a par-5 for me,” said Senior. “The young guys can do it. But to hit it that close push-started me for the back nine.

“I’m getting a bit long in the tooth, but it’s still amazing. It still hasn’t sunk in yet. You don’t expect to win these events anymore. Nearly every hole on the back nine, everyone was cheering me, even my poor shots. It sort of encouraged me.”

One of those poor shots came on the 17th when Senior’s drive went into mulga trees and he had to chip out sideways, causing him to bogey the hole and drop him into a tie for the lead with Evans.

Evans bogeyed 17 but a playoff seemed likely when Senior put his approach shot on 18 into a bunker. However, the veteran chipped out to within seven feet and made the par putt. The final margin went out to two strokes when Evans bogeyed the 18th.

Scott’s 77 on Saturday left him five behind third-round leader Matthew Millar, who shot 75 in his final round to finish five strokes behind Senior.