Smith defends PGA title

during the final day of the Senior PGA Professional Championships at the Northamptonshire County Golf Club on May 13, 2011 in Northampton, England.
during the final day of the Senior PGA Professional Championships at the Northamptonshire County Golf Club on May 13, 2011 in Northampton, England.

Peter Smith will have a spring in his step when he returns to defend the Senior PGA professional Championship next week at Northants County.

The PGA professional from Deeside Golf Club topped the leaderboard 12 months ago and is gunning for more success in the 54-hole event which carries a £33,000 prize fund and is being staged from May 16-18.

Last year’s victory was Smith’s first major victory in 20 years and he admitted it felt like rolling back the years.

“It’s a great event. When you’re out there, it’s like turning the clock back 25 years with people you used to play alongside on a regular basis,” he said.

“I certainly don’t feel like a 52-year-old when I’m playing in this event and feel like a youngster again.

“Last year was the first time I’d won an event of that stature since 1992, so it meant a lot. I’d had other wins along the way, most notably the New Zealand Club Professionals Championship in 2003 but the Northants County event was my biggest win in 20 years.”

Smith took the championship by four strokes last year finishing ahead of a trio of players - Stockport-based Richard Green (Bramhall), Southwold’s Robin Mann and Royal North Devon’s Iain Parker but admitted he was ‘hanging on’ to victory last year after a sensational opening round of 67.

“I had the lead but I could see it evaporating, however no-one caught me up and a I felt more relaxed about winning it on the final day but I was hanging on a bit.

The top 20 finishers will qualify for the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship at De Vere Slaley Hall from June 7-10.

Other Scottish players teeing off at Northants County include Alistair Thomson (Inverness), David Thomson (Carnegie) and Campbell Elliott (Haggs Castle).