John Senden file photo – records top ten on PGA Tour Champions
Four Australasians have finished inside the top 12 players of the PGA Tour Champions Sanford International in Sioux Falls in South Dakota, making it one of the most successful weeks ever in terms of the number of down-under golfers featuring in a PGA Tour Champions event.
Rod Pampling was 4th, John Senden and Steve Alker were 7th and David McKenzie 11th, Pampling contending for the title before finishing two shots from the winner in a playoff, Darren Clarke.
Despite his impressive finish, Pampling slips one place to 11th on the season’s Charl Schwab points table, but it continues a season where he has recorded a breakthrough win at this level and produced seven other top tens in the combined 2020/2021 season.
New Zealander, Alker, is one of the finds of the 2021 Champions Tour. Turning 50 in just July, the US based, Waikato golfer has now recorded four top tens after qualifying for his initial event in early August via Monday qualifying.
Playing without PGA Champions Tour status, Alker has, by finishing inside the top ten each week, gained a start the following week and he has already accumulated enough Charl Schwab points to move to 63rd on the table.
Needing to finish inside the top 54 by season’s end to earn at least partial status on next year’s tour he is moving along nicely although the job is not yet done. If he can continue this progress and finish inside the top 36 by season’s end, he will have earned full status for next season.
Senden recorded his best finish on the PGA Tour Champions having turned 50 in April of this year after 20 years as a PGA Tour player, his final round of 65 today allowing him to jump 24 places from his 36-hole position.
Like Alker, Senden continued to play to play competitively until the age of 50 and despite little success while doing so of late he arrived at the PGA Tour Champions with his game ready to compete at this level. He needs something special over the next few weeks if he is to avoid the demanding Tour School however
McKenzie’s 11th place finish has moved him one place to 50th in the standings and now in his 4th year on the PGA Tour Champions he continues to perform at a level above his previous exploits in the game.
Stephen Leaney was 44th this week, Mark Hensy 49th and Robert Allenby 65th.