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Senior Nabs Big Win in Australian Open
Peter Senior has repeatedly been on the cusp of victory on the Champions Tour. Since joining the over-50 circuit in the U.S. in February 2010, he's finished as the runner-up five times and lost in three playoffs.
But the sweet taste of victory finally came for Senior - and on his home turf against players half his age, no less.
The 53-year-old closed with an even-par 72 at the wind-whipped Lakes Golf Club in Sydney to win the Australian Open by a stroke. Starting Sunday three strokes behind 54-hole leader John Senden, Senior endured 50-mph gusts that forced a three-hour delay and were so powerful a television tower was toppled.
Senior, who logged his first title in his home country's national championship in 1989 at age 30, became the oldest Australian Open champion in the tournament's long and glorious history. The previous oldest winner was five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson at age 43 in 1972.
Senior ended up at 4-under 284, just ahead of fellow Aussies Brendan Jones (71 - 285) and Cameron Percy (73 - 286). Sharing fourth at 1-under 287 were Aussies Kim Felton (72) and Kieran Pratt (75) and England's Justin Rose (76).
Senden carded a 10-over 82 to fall down the leaderboard into a tie for 18th at 3-over 291.
Senior was ecstatic about outlasting the flat-bellies and securing his 21st title on the Australasian tour. "Winning the PGA (in 2010) up at Coolum was great, but I tell you what, nothing beats winning right here," said Senior, who's had 10 top-10 finishes on the Champions Tour in 2012 alone.
"It doesn't get any better than this," added Senior, whose son Mitch is his caddie. "We've had three years on the Champions Tour where Mitch has caddied for me for the last two years, and we've lost three playoffs, so it feels unbelievable to win with him on the bag."
Three Aussies - Stuart Appleby (75), Scott Gardner (73) and Michael Hendry (71) - ended up sharing seventh at 288.
The low round was posted by eight-time major winner Tom Watson, who thrives in windy conditions but played Sunday morning and didn't face the brunt of the wind's fury. The 63-year-old American had a 3-under 69 to finish at 5-over 293. The Hall of Famer had rounds of 78, 68, 78 and 69.
American Kyle Stanley started Sunday four behind Senden but was undone by the unruly weather, causing the Washington State native to balloon to an 8-over 80 to end up tied with Watson and others at 28th.
For all the scores, visit http://www.golfaustralia.org.au/default.aspx?s=mao_live_scores&tid=1134.