Legends Tour to land in Ballarat

Familiar names such as Peter Senior, Peter Fowler, Rodger Davis, Terry Price, Peter O’Malley and Mike Harwood are among those expected to star in a new event created by the Midlands Golf Club.

The club will host the inaugural Victorian Senior Masters in January next year, with the two-day competition to carry a prize purse of $30,000.

It will also form part of the PGA Legends Tour, a circuit for professional golfers aged 50 and over.

Each year there is about 70 PGA Legends Tour tournaments throughout Australia and New Zealand, where about $1million in prizemoney is up for grabs.

Midlands professional Michael Cooke told The Courier the club’s new event replaces the annual pro-am, which is usually held in March.

Peter Fowler

Peter Fowler

He said it is hopefully the launching pad to attracting an event like the prestigious Australian Senior Open in the future.

“Something like that, that’s our long-term goal. Hopefully we can do something like that,” Cooke said.

Cooke said the Victorian Senior Masters was created with the help of club member Mark Petrie, who is sponsoring the event with his business Peach's Fruit Market.

“We are rapt with it. It’s fantastic for us to get it and a big coup for us,” he said.

Cooke also revealed high-profile Australian golfers Ian Baker-Finch – who won The Open Championship in 1991 – and Craig Parry were also a chance to be part of the entries for the tournament, which is scheduled for January 27-28, 2017.

A masters dinner is planned for the Friday night after the opening round of play, with competition set to conclude with the second and final round on the Saturday.

Cooke said the competition also carries tier one status, with a two-year exemption on the PGA Legends Tour part of the attraction for players.

Midlands board member Darren Bandy was also looking forward to growing the tournament’s stature and bringing other events to the course in coming years.

“That’s our whole aim... that this is a success and we do it next year and maybe even embellish it more as time goes on,” Bandy said.

Bandy said the recent wet weather had filled the club’s dams, which will help in having the course in good condition early next year.