One of Zimbabwe’s most successful golfers, Tony Johnstone defends his Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters title this week, 12 months after capturing an emotional victory in front of his family at Woburn Golf Club.
The Bulawayo-born golfer held off the challenge of Australian Peter Senior by one stroke to capture a second European Senior Tour title since being told he would never play golf again.
After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Johnstone undertook a revolutionary drug treatment and returned to the game to win the Jersey Seniors Classic in 2008 before adding the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters title last year.
It was his first success over the magnificent Duke’s Course at Woburn after a number of near misses over the years, notably in the 1992 British Masters when he lost a play-off with Christy O’Connor Jnr.
The victory also helped the 54-year-old to a career high seventh on the Senior Tour Order of Merit — equaling his best campaign on The European Tour in 1992, the year he won the flagship PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.
“I am really looking forward to going back to Woburn — it is a place that I really love and have been going there for a long time over the course of my career,” said Johnstone.
“The win there last year was really special, I had most of the family there to enjoy it and it was a great event. Woburn is one of the great venues we have on the tour — it is a wonderful place and so many of the guys have been going there throughout their whole careers that we have a real affinity with the place.
There are a lot of great memories of the place and that has an effect on the tournaments we play there on the Senior Tour.” Johnstone will be hoping a return to Woburn sparks an improvement in his form after a largely disappointing campaign so far by his own standards, managing only two top ten finishes.
“I am hopeful of putting up a good defence but I have to get the putter working first. The thing has not been working all season and I have to say that because of that I have had a pretty bad year. It’s been pretty frustrating because the game is there, the ball striking is there and all of that but I just haven’t been able to get the ball in the hole,” he admitted.
“I’m working on it but I just have to be patient and hope it will come back to me — I’m not one for seeking a quick solution, those days are behind me, I just have to wait and hope at my age!”
l Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s living golf legend, Nick Price finished second at the Boeing Classic on the US Champions Tour.
Price (71) finished three strokes behind German Bernhard Langer who continued his remarkable run of form on the senior circuit with his fifth victory of the season.
The German fired a final round 69 to pull away from Price down the stretch and finish on 18 under par 198, three strokes clear of the Zimbabwean at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, in Washington.
Price wasn’t able to find enough birdies on Sunday to keep up with the Charles Schwab Cup leader. —Europeantour.com