Date: October 24, 2009

Senior leads Handa Australian Senior Open

A friendly welcome greeted players at Royal Perth for the opening round of the 2009 Handa Australian Senior Open with tournament favourite Peter Senior stamping his authority on the field. Senior, who was out early in near perfect conditions, got off to a good start with five birdies and a bogey through the first 11 holes. I got off to a good start but didn t hit a decent shot through the middle part and the end of the round coming home, Senior said. After a poor chip on the final hole resulting in a bogey, Senior signed for a 3 under 69. This was probably the worst round of golf I ve played for a while, he said. The weather was perfect I thought there was a six or seven under the card for anyone who played well. Despite those sentiments Senior did admit I was happy to finish with what I had, you have to accept those days and just come out tomorrow and do better. Senior, whose first three seniors tour events in Europe produced excellent results including a tie for second at the British Senior Masters, left a number of opportunities out on course including a birdie on the 17th when the ball refused to drop and an then ended up bogeying the par 5 18th. I didn t play well around the back nine and was pretty disappointed about that, so I ll be heading to the driving range this afternoon to work on that, he said. You just have to hit the ball on the fairway and that is the greatest difficulty about this course. If you can knock it down straight, the rest is not so difficult. Two time winner and defending champion Wayne Grady had a similarly frustrating round finishing even par for the day along with Rodger Davis who both found the course a challenge. The breeze was tricky on the back 9 and you had to be right on the spot out there Grady said. I had a couple of unforced errors which turned what could have been a good round into a really average round . Senior said the field was lucky not to have too much wind as Royal Perth is a lot more challenging when players have to judge their shots into the green. This course shows its teeth when it is gusty, he said. Victorian Michael Clayton who held an early 4 shot lead at the start of the day finished 2 shots back on 1 under, but said the course played a little easier than he expected. I had a great start and a miserable finish around the back. I bogeyed a par 5 on the front nine, three putted 16 from the front and bogeyed 17 from the fairway – so it was kind of ordinary, he said. American Mac O Grady s round may not have been as good as he would have wanted but he earned the admiration of spectators and fellow players for including former Australian PGA champion Roger MacKay s old persimmon woods in his bag. The two-time US PGA Tour winner is one of the purists of the game and wanted to honour West Australian MacKay, who died of cancer in 2002. O Grady s simple philosophy to the game is that any club is easy to hit once you ve mastered a hand-made persimmon wood. O Grady, whilst not completely happy with his pursuit for perfection in Round 1, still finished 1 under par, 2 shots back from Senior. Round 2 of the Handa Australian Senior Open continues at Royal Perth Golf Golf Club on Saturday 25th October. First tee commences at 7.30am with tournament leader Peter Senior set to tee off at 11.30am. At the completion of the second round, the leading 60 professionals (plus ties) will qualify for the final day. Spectators are welcome and entry is a gold coin donation to support the development of junior golf.