Date: December 06, 2012
Author: Martin Blake /

Senden roars out of the gates

John Senden is not one to make an noise as his low profile indicates. But the Queenslander roared out of the gates at the Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes today and his 66 announced to his competitors that he is here to win. The 41-year-old Senden is coming off another consistent year in America, where he had five top-10 finishes and reached the season-ending Tour Championship. One of the sweetest swingers in the game, he capitalised on his early-morning tee time on the 10th hole, when the winds were at their lightest, reaching six-under par through 10 holes when he bombed a long birdie putt at the par-four first. Download the Official Emirates Australian Open app today He gave back two shots, then birdied his 16th and 17th holes to regain the ascendancy. He narrowly missed a four-metre putt at his last hole, the ninth on the course, for a 65, and tapped in for a six-under total. By day s end, his lead of two shots had held up as the afternoon players struggled in the fluky breeze. Those in the pack at four-under-par are England s Justin Rose, Western Australia s Kim Felton, New Zealander Gareth Paddison, New South Welshman Brendan Jones and Victorian Richard Green. All played in the favourable early-morning conditions but will have later tee times tomorrow, with Senden going off at noon. Meanwhile several of the tournament favourites failed to fire, including Adam Scott (72) and Geoff Ogilvy (74). Senden was up and about. I ve been playing some of the best golf I ve played in my life, he said afterward. I just need to believe in that and keep going forward. For Senden, it is about self-belief. Renowned for his genial presence, he has won just one tournament in America since joining the PGA Tour in 2002, although his career earnings surpassed $15 million. But he keeps hitting greens and keeps rising in the world rankings, up to 38th now, and he says playing alongside the world s best golfers is rubbing off on him. I ve played with them all. I know how they are. It’s about standing on the stage and being comfortable. That s where it s at. I feel like I m getting better at that. I m moving forward, slowly getting better, that s where my whole career s been going. I need to continue in that direction and keep everything simple and just play. Join in the conversation via our Social Hub Senden played some golf in Asia after the Tour Championship, then flew back to his American base in Dallas to pick up his wife Jackie and son Jacob, 8. Back in Brisbane recently he has worked with his coach, Ian Triggs, and even caddied for young Jacob Senden at Keperra Golf Club in Brisbane, his own alma mater. He’s starting to get to know the game of golf a bit, said Senden. He’s always been able to hit the ball well but now s the time I can get him on the golf course and learn a bit about walking six, seven, eight holes, learning a bit about etiquette. He’s starting to get the gist of it. He’s into every sport. He loves it. When I first took him out I took him in a golf kart and all he wanted to do was drive the golf kart. Now we re walking. It’s fun being out there with him and hopefully he ll continue to play the game and enjoy it. Senden won the Australian Open at Royal Sydney in 2006 with two sensational birdies to finish his final round. (There s) a long way to go but it s about putting yourself in position, he said. The Queenslander posted the low number of the early rounds today, but Rose, the world No. 4, is ominously poised. You assume the early morning round is the one you have to post a good number, said Rose. All in all, it s a good start. MARQUEE TEE TIMES FRIDAY 7am Guan (China), Allenby, Leishman 7.10 am Watson (US), Higginbottom, Chalmers Noon Senden, Goggin, Ogilvy 12.10 Scott, Rose (UK), Liang (China)