That a player of the quality of Peter Lonard struggles to earn starts on the Champions Tour tells the story of just what a hard school it is in which to even get the chance to play.
The two time Australian Open, three-time Australian PGA, two time Australian Masters Champion, a PGA Tour event winner (Heritage Classic) and the accumulator of more than US$9.5 million in his PGA Tour career is forced, like most others, to go through the very egalitarian process of accessing the Champions Tour.
In five Champions Tour events which Lonard has been afforded starts through various means, he has earned a cheque, finishing 3rd on debut behind Bernhard Langer and Corey Pavin at the 2017 Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl and in the other events he has been able to access he has finished no worse than 26th but he remains without the necessary status to play the tour on a regular basis.
Lonard missed out on qualifying at last year’s Champions Tour Q School but given that only five players gained a card through that process it was never an easy task and he will again tackle that demanding examination later this year.
Two weeks ago, Lonard missed out on pre-event qualifying for the Champions Tour event in Michigan, losing out on one of five spots when beaten in a playoff after shooting 5 under par.
This week he again missed out in pre-event qualifying for the Sanford International in Sioux Falls in South Dakota but has managed to get a start from the reserve bench following the late withdrawal of Scott Verplank and now gets the opportunity to play his 6th Champions Tour event.
It would seem for Lonard, whose game appears ready-made for success on the Champions Tour, the opportunity to build continuity of play will allow him to fulfill his considerable promise at this level.
This, after all, is just his just fifth event of any type in the last six months so the chance to play competitively once again is a much sought after one for the now 51 year old Sydneysider.