Senior dents Hendry's Order of Merit bid

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 09:23 10/12/2012
Michael Hendry
SEBASTIAN COSTANZO/Fairfax Australia
DROPPING BACK: Kiwi Michael Hendry lost his lead atop the Australasian PGA Tour Order of Merit after Peter Senior's victory at the Australian Open.

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Peter Senior's history making Australian Open victory had an unfortunate side effect for New Zealand's Michael Hendry as he sheltered in the clubhouse and hoped gale force winds would blow his opposition away at The Lakes yesterday.

The aptly named 53-year-old, who became the oldest golfer to win the Open when he beat fellow Australian Brendan Jones by a stroke, also replaced Hendry atop the Australasia PGA Tour's Order of Merit with one tournament remaining.

Senior's $A225,000 winner's cheque boosted his earning from two tournaments on the Tour to $A259,000 while Hendry's creditable tie for seventh boosted his earnings to $A243,500.

The 32-year-old Aucklander has been ambushed by two of Australian golf's biggest names at the business end of the season - Adam Scott jumped straight into second place in his Tour debut for 2012 when he banked $A180,000 for winning last month's Australian Masters.

Hendry had Scott covered yesterday by finishing two shots and seven places better off but Senior's impressive finish jeopardises the Kiwi's hopes of claiming the lucrative exemptions the Order of Merit title provides.

With Senior and Scott also lining up in the season-ending Australasia PGA championship at Coolum from Thursday, Hendry will likely need another four rounds to regain top spot and be rewarded with a spot in prestigious tournaments such as the British Open and a fast track to the final stage of the US PGA qualifying school.

It was an eventful week for Hendry who only made his round one tee time on Thursday after a mad dash from Sydney airport after flying in from Osaka, where he qualified for the 2013 Japan Tour.

Hendry showed no signs of travel stress or jetlag as he opened with an even-par 72, a solid opening following by rounds of 71, 74 and 71.

Meanwhile, Gareth Paddison ended in a tie for 39th at six-over; Josh Geary was two strokes further back in 51st while Mahal Pearce finished on 11-over in a share of 62nd.

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