Friday, May 13, 2011


Peter Smith, the new British Senior PGA professional champion (image by Cal Carson Golf Agency).

Aberdonian Peter Smith, a teaching pro on Frank Coutts' staff at Deeside Golf Club, towed more than his caravan back to Scotland after winning the British Senior PGA Professional Championship on his debut at Northants County Golf Club today.
The 51-year-old, who pitched his tourer next to a nine-hole course for some extra practice, carded a final round four-over-par 74 to finish at one-over-par 211 for the tournament, which was enough to claim the silverware and the winner's cheque of £4,750.
Smith, who opened his title challenge with a best-of-the-week 67 and followed that up with a 70, had a four-shot winning margin over a trio of players - Stockport-based Richard Green (Bramhall), Southwold's Robin Mann and Royal North Devon's Iain Parker. They all earned £2,733.
All four of them, along with the rest of the top 20 at Northants County, have secured their place at the £250,000 De Vere Club PGA Championship at Slaley Hall next month, while Smith also gains entry to the Scottish Seniors Open in August.
And after taking the title, Smith is looking forward to his European Senior Tour dates, having made his bow at Slaley Hall last year.
He said: "I played last year and was sixth after two rounds. I played the final two rounds with Sam [Torrance] and Barry Lane and with Sandy Lyle and Andrew Oldcorn and I really felt I should be there. I didn't feel out of place. I didn't play great the last couple of rounds but I felt comfortable and winning this title is one of the steps in trying to get established.

"I've got Slaley Hall and the Scottish Seniors but I am known in a few places and this win will give me confidence as I can put on my CV that I am the Senior PGA Professional champion."
A former Scottish Northern Open champion, Smith was on the European Tour for a couple of years in the early 1990s but had spent the last 10 years in New Zealand (where he won the national club pros' championship) and the Netherlands before returning to Aberdeen last summer.
He began the final day with a five-shot advantage over his nearest rival but that got eroded to one shot at one stage as he struggled over the front nine, before recovering to take the title.
"I had a dreadful start and was just doing what I had seen everyone else do during the week," he said. "I was missing greens, not getting it close and missing six and seven foot putts.

"Hitting good shots but three-putting for bogey and so the first nine holes were a bit worrying. But I knew if I could get a few good shots under my belt it would turnaround. The tough holes at the start of the back nine I've played well all week, which I did again to give me that cushion coming the last couple of holes."

The trio of runners-up were all more than satisfied with the outcome of their week, given the margin Smith had at the start of the day over a course which is difficult to attack.

Mann, whose final round one-under-par 69 was the only sub-par round of the day, said: "I started the day nine behind Smithy, who's a quality player, and I got five of them back to get closer.

"I've finished second which is the closest I've been and so I'm delighted to have had a good week and can look forward to Slaley Hall."

Green, who was almost forced to quit the game as a result of tennis elbow, admitted he was still on the comeback trail but after his closing 72 was more than content with battling through the week to finish second.

"I'm quite surprised I came second," said the 54-year-old. "It was only when I made birdie at the 12th and looked at the leaderboard that five-over was close.

"I thought if I could stay at five-over then they always come back to you at this tournament they don't go away from you, so I did my job."

Parker,who like Smith was making his debut in the tournament, more than achieved his aim and looked to be a contender after opening his account with an eagle. But the Devon-based Scot had no complaints after closing with a two-over-par 72.

"My thoughts at the start of the week were to finish in the top 20 and get into Slaley Hall," he said.

"That would have been a good achievement but I've done much better than that and I'm delighted."
Par 210 (3x70)
211 Peter Smith (Deeside) 67 70 74 (£4,750).
215 Robin Mann (Southwold) 72 74 69, Iain Parker (Royal North Devon) 73 70 72 (£2,733 each).
217 Graham Farr (Worcester) 68 76 73, Bob Larratt (Kibworth) 69 75 73 (£1,675 each).
220 Jim Farmer (RandA) 74 72 74 (T13) (£627).
221 John McTear (unattached) 74 75 72, John Heggarty (Royal Liverpool) 74 72 75, Campbell Elliott (Haggs Castle) 70 73 78 (T17) £482 each).
222 Bill Lockie (North Gailes) 70 75 77 (T22) (£412).
223 Alan Hemsley (Barnham Broom) 74 77 72, Garry Harvey (Kinross) 69 74 80 (T24) (£355 each).
224 Alastair Webster (Edzell) 73 78 73, Graham Laing (North Wilts) 74 76 74 (T30) (£307 each).
226 Duncan Williamson (Kirkhill) 73 74 79 (37th) (£280).



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