Smith earns another shot at Euro elite

HEXHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 09:  Peter Smith of Scotland in action on the 3rd hole during the rain delayed second round on day three of the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship played on the Hunting Course, De Vere Slaley Hall on June 9, 2012 in Hexham, England.  (Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)
HEXHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Peter Smith of Scotland in action on the 3rd hole during the rain delayed second round on day three of the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship played on the Hunting Course, De Vere Slaley Hall on June 9, 2012 in Hexham, England. (Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

Deeside’s Peter Smith carded a level par final round of 72 for a share of fifth place in the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship at De Vere Slaley Hall.

His best-ever performance in a European Senior Tour event also earned him entry to the Van Lanschot Senior Open at the Royal Haagsche Golf & Country Club in the Hague next week.

The PGA teaching professional from Deeside Golf Club in Aberdeen finished five shots behind champion Paul Wesselingh in the £250,000 tournament which was reduced to 54-holes due to Friday’s play being washed out. Defending champion Andrew Oldcorn and Sweden’s Anders Forsbrand were joint second on five under par.

Smith, who spends the majority of his time coaching, was delighted to have the chance to compete in Holland again and is guaranteed to have some local support having worked their previously.

“I used to be head pro at Hilversumsche Golf Club so I know the area and the course well and I might even have a few old members come along to cheer me on,” said Smith.

“I lived an hour away so I’ve played it a few times. I’m comfortable in Holland, I know the people.”

Smith was a model of steadiness in his final round with two birdies and two bogeys but admitted it was a safety first approach to his play.

“I was very tentative today, I couldn’t afford to go for it. I played really well the first two rounds but today was very much a case of don’t make any mistakes.”

Smith, winner of the 2011 Senior PGA Professional Championship, revealed his display over the difficult conditions at the Hunting Course was a timely boost.

“It gives me confidence, I played three Senior events last year and finished between 30th and 40th every time and I knew there was more in the tank but coming into this I wasn’t playing good.

“This is my best finish against these guys, that’s why I was a bit tentative. I could have been more aggressive. Chris Williams, who I played with took driver a few times when I was taking five wood. It’s one of those courses where you have to be careful.

“I just have to take each event as it comes, there was no great plan this year. I’ve got a few teaching clients and I’m glad we’ve got a week so I can go back and coach them.”