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Peter Senior wins Australian Open
December 9, 2012

Peter Senior won the Australian Open by one stroke Sunday, overcoming severe weather conditions that forced a three-hour suspension because of gale-force winds.

The 53-year-old regular on the U.S. Champions Tour shot an even-par 72 in the final round at The Lakes to become the oldest Australian Open champion. Senor finished with a total of 4-under 284, keeping his composure while several other contenders struggled with the winds to drop down the field.

Fellow Australian Brendan Jones was second after a 71, while countryman Cameron Percy finished third after a 73, two strokes behind.

England's Justin Rose finished in a tie for fourth after a 76, three strokes behind Senior.

''Winning the PGA a couple of years ago up at Coolum was great, but I tell you what, nothing beats winning right here,'' Senior said.

Senior had 10 top-10 finishes on the Champions Tour this year, but no wins. That made the victory Sunday - with his son Mitch caddying - all the more special.

''It doesn't get any better than this,'' Senior said. ''We've had three years on the Champions Tour where Mitch has caddied for me for the last two years, and we've lost three playoffs, so it feels unbelievable to win with him on the bag.''

The previous oldest Australian Open champion was five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson at the age of 43 in 1972. Senior won the Australian Open for the first time as a 30-year-old in 1989.

On Sunday morning, gusts of up to 50 mph during a southerly wind change caused one television tower to topple, balls to move on the fairways and greens and sand to be blown from bunkers and into the galleries and fairways.

The gusty winds remained after play resumed, and third-round leader John Senden shot 82, second-round leader Marcus Fraser had an 81 and Adam Scott carded 76 to finish well of the pace.

Joining them, defending champion Greg Chalmers and Geoff Ogilvy each shot 77s. But 1984 champion Tom Watson was lucky to have started early Sunday morning, shooting a 69 before the storm hit to climb into a tie for 28th.

Tournament chief Trevor Herden said officials had no alternative but to suspend play when the fierce winds hit the course just before midday in Sydney.

''Obviously there's nothing we can do to protect anybody other than to get them out of danger,'' Herden said. ''We have an obligation to the public and the players and then there's the golf course, which at that point became unplayable.''

John Senden retakes lead at Australian Open
December 8, 2012

Australian John Senden had an eagle and two birdies in a four-hole stretch on the back nine Saturday and finished with a 2-under 70 for a two-stroke lead after three rounds of the Australian Open.

Senden, the 2006 champion, had a three-round total of 7-under 209 in tough, windy conditions at The Lakes.

Englishman Justin Rose, who also shot 70, was in second place, followed by Australians Matthew Jones (69), Peter Senior (69) and Kieran Pratt (70) in a tie for third, three behind Senden.

''I had a sluggish start with the hand brake on a bit, but once I got through three or four holes I was feeling good again,'' said Senden, who finished runner-up to Greg Chalmers last year at The Lakes. ''It was a day of trying to do the best I can and stay in position.''

Rose had two late bogeys to keep him from tying for the lead going into the final round. Like most players he struggled with the gusty conditions and was apprehensive about a forecast repeat on Sunday.

''It was a difficult time out there,'' Rose said. ''It's hard to even tap in from a few feet. I'm excited, as long as it does not get out of control and blow too hard, it is going to be a fun day to try and hit some shots. It will be my last round for the year and I'd like to go out on a high note.''

Stuart Appleby (70), fellow Australian Cameron Percy (72) and American Kyle Stanley (70) are in a share for sixth, four shots behind. Appleby briefly took the lead before a back-nine stumble, but was pleased to be within several shots of the lead.

''I feel like I'm coming back,'' Appleby said. ''My game is definitely on the uptake. Mentally, I've really struggled the past year or more, nearly two years, to believe in myself.''

Adam Scott shot 71 to put him in a group of nine tied at 214, five strokes behind. Included in that group was second-round leader Marcus Fraser of Australia, who shot 76.

Chalmers was six strokes behind Senden after a 69 and was level with Geoff Ogilvy (70).

American Tom Watson, the 1984 Australian Open champion, had a 78 for the second time in three rounds and was among the last-placed golfers to make the cut.

Marcus Fraser edges ahead at Australian Open
December 7, 2012

Local hopeful Marcus Fraser rode the momentum from a first round hole-in-one to claim a one-stroke lead at the halfway point of the $1.25 million Australian Open on Friday.

The 34-year-old thought he might be making an early exit when he was three-over after 10 holes of the tournament but four straight birdies followed by the ace on Thursday transformed his prospects.

Five more birdies mixed with a couple of bogeys gave him a second-round three-under-par 69, which was enough to keep him a shot in front of compatriot Brendan Jones (71) and overnight leader John Senden (73) on six-under par for the tournament.

"To have one go in like that turned the tournament right around," Fraser said of the ace at the par three 15th.

"Hopefully we can keep that momentum going over the weekend. I will feel some nerves tomorrow teeing it up but hopefully I'll get stuck into it on the weekend."

South Australian Nick Cullen was alone in fourth after carding a 70 on a day of high scoring at The Lakes Golf Club.

World number four Justin Rose struggled on the back nine as high winds returned in the afternoon but despite four bogeys in six holes after the turn, his 73 was good enough for a share of fifth with five others at three-under.

"My game was feeling pretty tight then all of a sudden it wasn't," said the Englishman. "There's a long way to go and if you'd said after two rounds I'd be three shots off the lead, I'd probably have taken it."

Adam Scott, the top-ranked Australian at number seven in the world, was also among the late starters and his three-birdie, two bogey 71 was enough to keep him in the tournament five shots off the pace.

Eight-times major winner Tom Watson thrived in the calm early conditions to rescue his tournament with a five-birdie 68 after an opening 78 which left him "embarrassed".

The 63-year-old was mightily relieved to make the cut, which was set at three over, with a two-over tally of 146.

"I hate missing cuts, I really do. That means you've failed," Watson said. "I don't think I've ever missed a cut overseas, except at the British Open.

"I've never missed a cut here, never missed a cut in Japan. Let's put it this way, I've never missed a cut in the Australasian area."

Twice Australian Open champion Robert Allenby, who shot a 77, and 2007 winner Craig Parry (73) did make early departures, as did 14-year-old Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang.

The teenager did, however, hit four birdies in his second round 70 and fix up a practice date with Watson next year at Augusta, where he will become the youngest player ever to take part in the U.S. Masters.

"He said I was doing pretty well and he said I am still a kid," Guan said of his meeting with the twice Augusta champion, who is nearly 50 years his senior.

John Senden leads Australian Open
December 6, 2012

John Senden shot a 6-under 66 in calm morning conditions to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

Senden had eight birdies but back-to-back bogeys at The Lakes, while Englishman Justin Rose, who birdied three of his first four holes, was level with Australians Kim Felton, Brendan Jones and Richard Green and Gareth Paddison of New Zealand after 68s.

Rose dropped his only shot of the day when he muffed a greenside flop shot on the par-4 third hole, his 12th of the round.

''I decided to try and hit the high, sexy lob - that didn't really come off,'' Rose said.

Senden had a consistent year on the PGA Tour, making 19 cuts from 22 events, including five top-10 finishes.

''The results have shown in the past couple of years. I have been inside the top 30 and been consistent,'' Senden said. ''I have taken those feelings and brought them home to Australia. I feel I can keep improving and keeping knocking on the door in every event I play.''

Adam Scott, who practiced with a new putter earlier in the week, used his old broomstick-style blade on Thursday and missed a 4-foot birdie attempt on his opening hole before shooting 72.

''I would have loved to play better, but there's 54 holes to go. That's a lot of golf to play,'' Scott said.

Scott's current putter, which he anchors to his chest, will be banned in 2016 under a proposed rule changes by golf's governing bodies.

Among the high afternoon scores in gusting winds were eight-time major champion Tom Watson, who had a 78, and 14-year-old Chinese amateur Guan Tianling, who is likely to miss the halfway cut after an 82.

Contesting the Australian Open for the first time since winning the tournament in 1984, Watson lost six shots to par over four holes from the fifth to the eighth.

''I'm embarrassed,'' Watson said.


284 Peter Senior (Aus) 75 68 69 72

285 Brendan Jones (Aus) 68 71 75 71

286 Cameron Percy (Aus) 72 69 72 73

287 Justin Rose 68 73 70 76, Kieran Pratt (Aus) 71 71 70 75, Kim Felton (Aus) 68 75 72 72

288 Michael Hendry (Nzl) 72 71 74 71, Scott Gardiner (Aus) 76 71 68 73, Stuart Appleby (Aus) 70 73 70 75

289 Brett Rumford (Aus) 73 69 75 72, Rodney Pampling (Aus) 74 69 73 73, Nick O'Hern (Aus) 71 73 73 72, Matthew Jones (Aus) 71 72 69 77

290 Cameron Smith (Aus) 72 74 69 75, Adam Scott (Aus) 72 71 71 76, Mathew Goggin (Aus) 71 70 73 76, Steven Jones (Aus) 73 68 73 76

291 John Senden (Aus) 66 73 70 82, Matthew Stieger (Aus) 73 71 71 76, Nick Cullen (Aus) 70 70 74 77, Nick Flanagan (Aus) 69 76 74 72, Jamie Arnold (Aus) 72 72 72 75

292 Matthew Millar (Aus) 74 71 69 78, Alistair Presnell (Aus) 75 72 71 74, Greg Chalmers (Aus) 71 75 69 77, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 74 71 70 77, Matthew Griffin (Aus) 75 69 71 77

293 Scott Laycock (Aus) 76 69 71 77, Kyle Stanley (USA) 72 71 70 80, Tom Watson (USA) 78 68 78 69, Stephen Leaney (Aus) 75 69 71 78, Wen-Chong Liang (Chn) 73 71 72 77, Stephen Allan (Aus) 69 73 80 71, Timothy Wood (Aus) 70 74 72 77, James Mclean (Aus) 72 72 75 74, Andre Stolz (Aus) 72 71 71 79, David Bransdon (Aus) 74 73 70 76, Rory Hie (Ina) 73 69 75 76

294 Gareth Paddison (Nzl) 68 73 74 79, Craig Parry (Aus) 75 73 75 71, Kalem Richardson (Aus) 78 70 74 72

295 James Nitties (Aus) 77 71 69 78, Brett Rankin (Aus) 74 72 74 75, Jason Norris (Aus) 74 71 74 76, Matt Ballard (Aus) 72 72 80 71, Stephen Dartnall (Aus) 76 72 74 73, Marc Leishman (Aus) 70 72 76 77, Richard Green (Aus) 68 73 76 78, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 69 69 76 81, Peter O'Malley (Aus) 70 78 71 76

296 Paul Spargo (Aus) 70 73 76 77, Nathan Green (Aus) 73 72 77 74, Damon Welsford (Aus) 72 76 70 78, Clint Rice (Aus) 77 71 70 78, Leigh Mckechnie (Aus) 72 71 75 78, Terry Pilkadaris (Aus) 72 73 75 76, Aron Price (Aus) 72 74 75 75, Josh Geary (Nzl) 70 73 71 82

297 Kurt Barnes (Aus) 71 76 78 72, Matthew Giles (Aus) 76 71 77 73

298 Ashley Hall (Aus) 79 68 71 80

299 Mahal Pearce (Nzl) 70 77 73 79, Daniel Popovic (Aus) 71 73 72 83, Jake Higginbottom (Aus) 74 73 77 75

301 Gavin Flint (Aus) 79 69 74 79, Peter Lonard (Aus) 71 73 78 79

302 Andrew Kelly (Aus) 71 77 74 80, Guo-wu Zhou (Chn) 74 73 74 81

303 Won Joon Lee (Aus) 74 70 75 84

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