On a day where his more famous competitors were blown away by wind gusts so bad that play had to be suspended, 53-year-old Aussie Peter Senior shot even par to win the Australian Open. Senior's final score of 4-under put him one shot ahead of Brendan Jones and two ahead of Cameron Percy.
The weather was the true winner on the tournament's final day. Players faced wind gusts up to 50 m.p.h., whipping up sand from the waste areas of Kingsford's The Lakes Golf Course and pelting players and spectators. The television tower on the final green fell over. Senior called it "one of the toughest days I've ever seen on a golf course." As Australian Golf Digest described it:
The air was alive with baseball caps.
Andre Stolz teed off and got the ball on the first green in regulation, which was Nicklaus type strokeplay by this stage, or perhaps a Ponting, such was the calibre of club required, then watched as his resting ball, as if possessed, suddenly rolled a metre and a half.
Oh, it was windy.
Everybody tilted sideways as they walked through crosswinds. Into headwinds they leaned forward, slumped and beaten, like Napoleon's men on a march.
King Lear was expected to show up anytime. The weather vanes cried "uncle".
Senior managed to keep his wits about him and his ball in play in the horrendous conditions, countering bogeys at the fifth and seventh holes with birdies at 10 and 12, and otherwise playing to par. As the leaders wilted and fell, Senior methodically moved up the leaderboard. Third-round leader John Senden took a double bogey 6 on the first hole and never truly recovered, shooting a 10-over 82 en route to a final score of 3-over. Justin Rose, who entered the tournament ranked seventh in the World Golf Rankings and was 5-under after three rounds, stayed in contention until he took bogey on 16, finishing with a 76 on the day and a 1-under final score. Of 26 players who started the day under par, just six stayed below par after the final round.
Senior, who currently plays on the European Senior PGA Tour, is no stranger to Australian golf fans. He holds 21 career wins on the Australasian Tour, including three Australian PGA Championship wins and two Australian Masters wins. His best result in a conventional major was a fourth-place in the 1993 Open Championship. This is Senior's second Australian Open win; he also won the tournament in 1989.
The full final leaderboard is available at the tournament website.