Lonard chasing elusive Aussie title - PGA of Australia

Lonard chasing elusive Aussie title

When you look at Peter Lonard’s resume, there are very few holes in the wins category around Australia.

A three-time winner of the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, two-time ISPS HANDA Australian Open winner and twice the champion of the Australian Masters, the New South Welshman has nine total Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia titles.

Also a winner on the PGA TOUR in America for good measure, many would have assumed when he joined the over-50s crowd of the PGA Legends Tour, Lonard would regularly have his name up in lights.

Lonard has certainly been no slouch, winning 10times on the PGA Legends Tour after finishing T3 in the 2017 Senior Open Championship immediately after turning 50.

However, one title has alluded him to date, the Nova Employment Australian PGA Senior Championship, the marquee event on the senior circuit in this country.

Played at Richmond Golf Club in north-west Sydney once again this year, the eighth time the club will host the event, Lonard has gone close in recent years including as runner-up in both 2019 and 2020.

“I suppose I’m near the end of my career, it would be nice just to win one of the big ones in the seniors,” said 56-year-old ahead of Friday’s first round.

“I was probably more competitive early on when I turned 50. I put a lot more effort into this year, the last three months I’ve actually practiced and done a lot of work.”

That work, and the hope of winning, coming via a different motivation than when he was winning with regularity on the main Tour and overseas.

“It would be great for my little girl to actually see me win something, rather than think I’m the garbage man,” he joked. “But other than that, at the end of the day it’s not going to kill me if I don’t, but I would love to.”

To do that he will need to overcome an impressive field that includes the likes of Peter O’Malley, Peter Fowler, John Senden, Stephan Allan and Andre Stolz to name just a few.

Lonard believes his experience growing up on Sydney courses similar in tree-lined style and across similar playing surfaces will deliver an edge this week.

“It’s kikuyu, I grew up on kikuyu so that’s a bit of an advantage. I think, if there is an advantage here, you have to hit pretty straight and I am reasonably straight,” he said.

“That’s my thing. Last year I hit it sideways, and it was no good. This place really penalises you if you don’t hit it straight.”

Whether or not Lonard is able to join the honour roll that includes Rodger Davis, Peter Senior, Ian Stanley, Bill Dunk and American major winners Orville Moody and Lee Trevino, won’t be the end of the world for the one-time world No.23.

But in his in words “it would be a nice bonus”, and produce a slightly different Sunday night than a similar result would have in his heyday.

“Well I suppose you get home from six o’clock in the morning for starters. Outside of that, it will be a much quieter finish to the week if I manage to get up in any tournament in any way, I’m sure I would probably be in bed by 7:30, 8pm. I might stretch it out.”

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