Date: December 02, 2008
Author: Luke Buttigieg, Sportal

Laidback Lonard after more success

A three-time winner at Hyatt Regency Coolum, Peter Lonard believes the more relaxed approach that he adopts when contesting the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship is behind his success in the tournament. The 41-year-old has triumphed previously on the Sunshine Coast, in 2002, when he shared the title with fellow Australian Jarrod Moseley, 2004 and 2007, and he&aposs back in town chasing a fourth Joe Kirkwood Cup. And while he was again playing down his chances on Tuesday, having said &aposI&aposm not a chance every other time I&aposve been here&apos, Lonard attributes his liking for Coolum to how good he feels when he&aposs there. “Yeah it&aposs been really good to me, particularly the last three or four years,” Lonard said. “I don&apost know why I play good here maybe it&aposs just (a) pretty relaxed sort of atmosphere, great place to stay and usually have a few friends hanging around.” “I probably do everything wrong, I barely go to the gym, eat pizza, drink beer and don&apost really think much about golf so maybe I should do that all year. I try a lot harder at other places but it doesn&apost do me any good, the harder I try the worse I get.” A regular on the US PGA Tour in recent seasons, with his best result coming in 2005 when he won the MCI Heritage at Hilton Head, Lonard admits he&aposs an admirer of John Daly&aposs game even though the American will &aposbe hitting it 150 (metres) past me&apos. “(It&aposs) very rarely that you get golfers that smash it a long way and have great touch around the greens,” he added of the two-time major winner who is one of the drawcards this week. “That was about the era where you had … everyone trying to do it right with trainers and masseurs and yoga instructors and psychologists … and he was just one of the old mould.” “He just went out and he played golf and smashed the daylights out of it, he had great touch around the greens, he could shoot a score without any preparation whatsoever. I think the PGA that he won was indicative of that.” “Probably 99 percent of the players could not ever do that, can&apost turn up the day before, no practice round and go out and win a major. I think he&aposs just a naturally great player and when he&aposs on he&aposs one of the greatest players in the world. I sort of like that style.” After winning at Coolum 12 months ago, Lonard had an encouraging start to 2008 with a tie for seventh at the Mayakoba Classic in February and second place at the Zurich Classic in March. But after missing the cut at the Houston Open and US Masters, where he &aposnever does any good&apos, Lonard was looking forward to his favourite stretch of events of the year in America until struck down by a back injury that forced him to take a month off. Once he returned from the layoff he managed four top-20 results, including a tie for sixth at the Bridgestone Invitational, and was overall quite pleased to be in the top 70 on the US PGA Tour&aposs money list. But having returned home and finished equal 39th at last week&aposs Sportsbet Masters at Huntingdale, Lonard is looking for a few more of his putts to drop this week if he&aposs to contend. “I think last week I played alright and my putting was horrendous so if I can putt half decent well you never know,” he said of his chances of winning. “I think I&aposve just got to hit it pretty much the same, I had a lot of three-putts last week and if you&aposre going to be competitive you can&apost three-putt at all, let alone have seven or eight or nine or whatever I had.” “I found the greens really tough. Tee to green I thought it was pretty good, I made a couple of double bogeys, most of them were after I had three-putts, so if I don&apost three-putt maybe I won&apost make double bogeys and then I&aposm a chance.”