Smith wins senior PGA championship

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.

DEESIDE’S Peter Smith towed more than his caravan back to Scotland after winning the Senior PGA Professional Championship on his debut.

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.

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 titlesmith, Smith is looking forward to his European Senior Tour dates having made his bow at Slaley Hall last year.

“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.”

Smith, who had spent the last 10 years in New Zealand prior to returning to the UK last summer, 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.”