Peter Senior has cemented his position at the top of the leaderboard at the Handa Australian Senior Open at Royal Perth Golf Club by taking a three stroke lead into the final round.
A significantly cooler temperature greeted players at Royal Perth in the morning of round two which continued throughout the day, making the conditions more conducive to lower scores. But the narrow fairways and tricky greens held much of the field back from overtaking Senior at the top on the leaderboard.
Senior is anxious to make amends to his finish at the 2009 Handa Australian Senior Open where he started the final round four shots ahead of the pack but came unstuck on the back nine and saw the trophy handed over to Mike Harwood after a three way play off.
Senior posted a solid second round score of 70 to put himself three shots ahead of local compatriot Peter Fowler, who struggled to find consistency at the end of his round with three late bogeys. Senior’s lead could have easily have been a lot more however, with two bogeys himself on 15 and 16 he settled for the two-under par round at the close of business.
“I could have been a bit better,” said Senior. “Three shots could easily have been half a dozen which would have been more relaxing for me. I’ve still got to come out and play good golf tomorrow.”
“I’ve hit the ball well and driven well which always gives me chances. The course is good so it will be a nice challenge tomorrow. I’ll try to do the same as what I’ve done today, hitting the driver most holes like I have and just trust what I’ve been doing.
“We’ve had a good crowd this afternoon, it’s always nice to see people come out. The guys are still capable of playing some good golf and hopefully we’ll show some.”
Although firm favourite to take the Handa Senior Australian Open title, Senior is by no means out of reach of Fowler, nor the four European players tied for third on three under.
Scotland’s Sandy Lyle, England’s DJ Russell and Gary Wolstenhome, and Frenchman Marc Farry, a dual winner on the European Senior Tour this year, all posted exciting sub par rounds. Meanwhile yesterday’s top European, Kevin Surgeon struggled to progress making 73 and now stands at one over par.
DJ Russell eagled the final hole to shoot 69 alongside Marc Farry, while Gary Wolstenhome together with Australia’s Gregory Engall and Roger Davis equalled Sandy Lyle’s 68, which was the best score for the day at four under.
Although posting a good score, two times Major Champion Lyle battled to find consistency throughout his round, following up an eagle on the third with a bogey.
"The highlight was on the third I hit a real good drive, then from 190 yards with a seven-iron to about 15 feet and a good solid putt right in the middle of the hole it doesn't get any better than that," he said. “But then I come out to bat on the next hole and made a bogey.
"I've generally been wasting four or five shots a round; a double-bogey here, a three-putt there and nearly five bogeys every round I play and I’m still going around in 73 or so. I just can't seem to get it all together, as they say. Even today I've had two bogeys and that double in a 68."
"But I'm encouraged today because I haven't played any golf at all for five weeks in terrible weather at home in Scotland. When I saw the tightness of this course, I didn't fancy my chances, but I've been keeping the ball in play with my irons and scrambling a little."
Senior debutant Ian Baker-Finch finished with 71, a round that included a penalty for an unplayable lie when his drive remained lodged in a tree on the par-five 18th, leaving him at one under for the tournament.