Bega golfer Martin Peterson will automatically qualify for Legends golfing events after winning the qualifying series recently.
Peterson took out the tour spot by just a single stroke, but said he thrived under the pressure.
“That’s what you play for, I enjoy that,” he says with a laugh. “I had taken the lead by the third hole in the second round and then held on all the way.”
He was halfway down the fairway of the par four final hole when PGA officials told him a par would give him the win.
“I went through my routine, hit a really good shot to about two metres and then two-putted it to win.”
The Bega High School science teacher won’t officially qualify to compete until he turns 50 in June and said he had mixed emotions about his win.
“I am very excited to play again, but I feel guilty having to leave the kids,” Peterson said.
The former Australian PGA tour regular said it had been a hard road to return to top level play, but he was ever-grateful for the support of his family.
“I have a very understanding wife,” Peterson says with a smile, “she’s been in hospital with pneumonia, but still supported me.”
“And a lot of the reason I’ve kept going for the last five years is my son Harry, he has kept me in tune because I’ve been playing with him a lot.”
A career highlight included what was [at the time] the equal lowest score in Australia, a 12-under-par round at the Glen Innes Pro-Am.
The Legends Tour kicks off in February, but Peterson is likely to start his campaign in Samoa near the end of June.
Another perk of winning the qualifier means he will automatically qualify in 21st place at any competition.
“That is a really big boost because it means I can enter any event I want to and many of the tournaments have limited entries,” he said.
Peterson said he was placing no expectations on himself just yet.
“I really have to wait and see how it goes, dip my foot in,” he said with a laugh.
“Over the next six months I’m going to work on my strength, flexibility and fitness to avoid getting injuries because you’re more prone to niggles.”
Peterson said early results could change his future, but it would all depend how well he was playing.
He said his ultimate dream would be to qualify for the American equivalent of the tour, known as the Champions, but he would have to be playing “exceptionally well”.
“If I am playing successfully I might be doing a bit less teaching, but if I have a shocker then I’ll be doing a lot of teaching and less golf,” he adds with a laugh.