Date: December 12, 2007
Author: Adam Lucius

Lonard can’t wait for MFS Australian Open

by Adam Lucius, Sportal Real estate agents take note, laconic NSW golfer Peter Lonard may be headed your way if he cashes in at his favourite course during this week&aposs MFS Australian Open. The 40-year-old from Sydney is fresh from a win in the Australian PGA Championship and looms as one of the favourites for his national championship, starting Thursday at The Australian. Lonard has a love affair with the Jack Nicklaus-designed course – he won the last time the Open was held there in 2004 – and fancies his chances of repeating that effort three years on. “It&aposs probably my favourite course in Australia, always has been,” he said after Tuesday&aposs pro-am. “It&aposs probably the first big tournament that I remember playing. It&aposs great to come back to a course I&aposve won at before.” “I&aposm really excited about my prospects of playing well but I don&apost think I&aposll upgrade my house just yet.” While Lonard is intimate with every square inch of The Australian, he has noticed a few subtle changes since he last strolled its fairways. “(It&aposs) probably a little softer than last time…I think the greens are a little slower,” he offered. “Outside of that the rough&aposs a little thicker so you&aposre going to have to hit the fairways.” “It&aposs a pretty tough track.” “Normally it plays hard and bouncy and fast, which is the sort of course I like, (and) it&aposs got four or five really tough holes where par&aposs a really good score.” “I think The Australian is a great test of golf. You&aposve got to be able to move the ball both ways, you&aposve got to have really good touch around the greens.” Lonard declared the tournament would be a two-way battle between him and the course, admitting he didn&apost even know where his main competition would come from. Giant billboards near Sydney Airport helped filled him in, with images of Aaron Baddeley, John Senden and Geoff Ogilvy lining the route. Lonard&aposs lived-in mug was noticeably absent. “You get so involved in playing you don&apost take much notice of who&aposs playing,” he explained. “You&aposve got your usual culprits in Australia, some great young players from America ” “I don&apost think they need to stick my face (on billboards) in front of all the newcomers into Sydney.” “You don&apost want to scare them away.” “I&aposm not the best-looking bloke.” But he&aposs one heck of a golfer.