by Lawrence Machado
Queenslander Andre Stolz overcame a shocking final round of two bogeys to seal his first Australian PGA Seniors crown at Richmond Golf Club, becoming just the second player to win this coveted title in his debut year on the tour.
The 50-year-old carded a three-round score of 9-under 201 (67, 64, 70) for a memorable four-stroke win over fancied Peter Lonard on Saturday, November 7.
Lonard, 53, finished with 67, 68, 70 for a five-under 205, a great result considering he had aggravated a back injury a week before the championship.
Another Queenslander Simon Tooman picked up third prize with his four-under par 206, following rounds of 68, 70, 68. Stolz and Michael Long (2018) are the only golfers to win the senior PGA title in their debut year on the Legends tour.
Stolz took control of the championship with a sizzling 6-under 64 second round in the three-day championship before surviving bogeys on the 9th and 15th holes. He made up for these errors, sinking four birdies, including the final hole.
“It was great playing with (Peter) O’Malley and Lonard, they are old buddies of mine and you know they’re not going to hand it to you so it was nice being able to get on top of them,” Stolz said.
“I have been playing some great golf despite the unlucky break on nine and maybe a wrong club on 15, but I always felt I was in control which was good enough to keep them at bay.
“It’s been a long time, it’s interesting, normally when I play pretty good and get myself in contention like that I can sort of get the job done and I’ve done it a lot in the past. But it’s been so long since I won anything.”
Last year’s runner-up O’Malley and former champion Peter Fowler of Hornsby were tied for fourth, after both carded three-under 207 scores.