After narrowly missing out on the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters last year, Australian Peter Fowler is back and looking to kick-start a key run in the 2013 European Senior Tour schedule by going one place better at Woburn Golf Club this week.
Despite shooting a fine five under par 67 in the final round in 2012, Fowler, the 2011 Senior Tour Number One, lost out by just one stroke to Irishman Des Smyth, who prevailed to capture his second Senior Masters title in three years.
Fowler’s runner-up spot continued a highly consistent record on the Duke’s Course in the Senior ranks, however, having finished fifth in 2011 and 13th the previous year and the 54 year old said a return to Woburn sparked good memories.
“I played with Mark James in the final round last year and we had a really good tussle,” said Fowler, who put together an excellent defence of his John Jacobs Trophy in finishing fourth on the Order of Merit last year.
“That was excellent fun. Mark played really well and we were trading birdies on and off all day. It turned into a little bit of a match play scenario and he was one up on me with two holes to play. We both birdied the 17th and I managed to hole one at the 18th too to beat him by one.
“I had a good round and I played well but unfortunately Des had a really good round and pipped us all but that’s golf.”
This is Fowler’s third appearance on the Duke’s Course in a Senior capacity, but Woburn holds no secrets for the Australian, having contested on the layout 11 times previously in The European Tour’s British Masters between 1985 and 2000.
He said: “I’ve played here quite a bit so you kind of work out how to plot your way around the course and take on some of the holes.
“So I feel quite comfortable here. It’s always in great condition and the one thing I would say is that the trees have grown up so that makes some sections pretty narrow but I feel like I know how to play it now.”
It has been a solid if unspectacular year thus far for European Tour winner Fowler, who sits sixth in the Order of Merit currently largely thanks to a sixth place finish in The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Royal Birkdale and a tied fourth place at the SSE Scottish Senior Open in St Andrews two weeks ago.
But with the Senior Masters this week launching a run of high-tariff, big-money events, Fowler feels the coming weeks could hold the key to the 2013 season.
“I’ve played some good stuff but it’s been a bit stop-start,” Fowler continued. “But the next four weeks in a row will help all of us get into some sort of rhythm and see who is in the best form and the best position to start a surge in the ranking.
“I played well at The Senior Open again and that is a big tournament so that helped push me back up there. We’ve got four big tournaments coming up in succession now so this is the bulk of our Tour right here in this month.”
Never one to get ahead of himself, though, the quietly-spoken Sydney native prefers a more straightforward approach, an attitude that has so-far yielded two Senior Tour victories and a plethora of top finishes in the last three years.
“I just plan each week out and hope to score well, keep it simple as that,” he reflected. “There’s no sense in overcomplicating things so you just go out there and do your thing and hope that it could be your week again.”