Golf: Turner to make his senior major debut

New Zealand golfer Greg Turner will make his debut in a senior professional event on Friday morning (NZT) when he tees it up at the 74th Senior PGA Championship in St Louis, Missouri. Photo / File
New Zealand golfer Greg Turner will make his debut in a senior professional event on Friday morning (NZT) when he tees it up at the 74th Senior PGA Championship in St Louis, Missouri. Photo / File

New Zealand golfer Greg Turner will make his debut in a senior professional event on Friday morning (NZT) when he tees it up at the 74th Senior PGA Championship in St Louis, Missouri.

The 50-year-old Otago professional, who retired from competitive golf in 2004 when he was ranked inside the top 200 players in the world, has been preparing to compete in the senior ranks since dusting off his clubs to play in the Harewood Open on The Charles Tour last October.

Turner will play in his first senior major championship at the renowned Bellerive Country Club, which is hosting the Senior PGA Championship for the first time. It is his first major championship since he missed the cut at the 2001 Open Championship.

He will tee off the first hole alongside American Lee Rinker and Japanese senior pro Kiyoshi Murota at 7:45am (local time) as the only Kiwi in the field.

Turner will once again rub shoulders with many household names in world golf.

Two-time Senior PGA Champion Tom Watson and two-time PGA Champion Nick Price, who won the 1992 PGA Championship played at Bellerive, are in the field alongside two-time US Open winner Andy North.

In his comeback Turner has shown that he has lost none of his cunning or shot-making ability.

He finished in a share of 25th place at the Harewood Open on the Charles Tour and was in contention at the halfway stage of the New Zealand Open at Clearwater last year before fading in the final rounds with 79 and 75 to finish tied 62nd.

Turner will take a lot of confidence from his most recent result of note. He finished in a share of 14th place at the New Zealand PGA Pro-Am Championship at The Hills in March.

The 1984 NZ PGA Champion shot rounds of 71, 68, 67 and 71 for an 11-under par four-round total to be only eight shots back from the winner Michael Hendry.

He will look to become the first Kiwi to win the Senior PGA Championship and a senior major championship title.

Sir Bob Charles won 23 times on the Senior PGA Tour, or The Champions Tour as it is now known, but never claimed a senior major championship.

At his peak in the 1980s and 90s Turner won four times on the European Tour and five times on the PGA Tour of Australasia.

His best result in a major was a tie for seventh at The Open Championship in 1996 at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club where Charles famously claimed the Claret Jug in 1963.

- APNZ

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