While the rest of the field at The Lakes really struggled in atrocious conditions yesterday, Peter Senior told Mother Nature to take a hike as he clinched his second Australia Open in 23 years.
Play had been suspended for just over three hours late in the morning while an 80kph howling southerly swept across the course bringing down a Channel 7 television tower and sponsorship signs, as well as uprooting commercial tents.
Carnage. But not for the old bloke.
It’s just a birthday with another number if you watched the chunky 53-year-old with a spring in his step become the oldest Australian Open champion, a decade older than Peter Thomson when he won his third national title in 1972.
And there’s another strong link between Senior and Thomson whose career long belief was treat the wind as your friend, don’t fight it.
Senior didn’t fight it, he just kept plonking his tee shots down the middle, and spent 18 holes giving a superb exhibition of chipping and putting to card two birdies and two bogeys for an even par 72 in a gusting 50 kph gale to win by a shot over compatriot Brendan Jones.
Few could recall worse conditions, and it was a miracle the Open finished as darkness set in at 8pm with the floodlights around the 18th green.
For Senior, the win was more than his national title and his 30th success around the world, it was the first with his son Mitchell who has been on the bag for two years.
Five times Dad’s been in a winning position on the USPGA Champions tour, only to finish second, losing three of them in play-offs.
Not yesterday, it was a family day with wife and mother June trudging through the elements willing them home.
It would be hard to find a more popular win in Australian sport when the media starts reviewing 2012 at the end of the month.
Peter Senior found that inner strength and belief that the likes of world-ranked Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, and especially third-round leader by two strokes John Senden couldn’t find as he ploughed his way to a final round 10-over 82.
The Australian Open 2012 will hold a special place in the Senior household where the patriarch lives for his golf.
“When I wake up every morning I look forward to playing golf”.
That dedication, and the dedicated support he has around him every day, is the key to Peter Senior.
Yesterday was the proof.