PGA pros sparkle at Slaley


Steve Cipa and Peter Smith achieved their best ever finishes on the European Senior Tour with a share of fifth behind champion Paul Wesselingh at the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship at De Vere Slaley Hall.

The PGA pros were alongside the European Senior Tour's reigning order of merit winner Peter Fowler while host pro Steve McNally also produced a good showing on his home course with tied 13th.

Cipa from South Essex Golf Centre, who claimed the sixth and final card at 2012 qualifying school for full playing rights this season, credited a winter fitness programme and an improved mental approach which was reflected in a brilliant save on the last when he holed a 15 foot putt for a one under 71 which also left him one under for the £250,000 tournament - just five strokes adrift of Kedleston Park's Wesselingh.

"I am very pleased, I just kept the ball in play in difficult conditions, and when I didn't find the fairway I chipped and putted well as I did on the last so it was a really pleasing round," he said.

"It's good for me because I have spent the winter working hard on all aspects of the game. I've had two steady starts to the season and this one is really pleasing.

"I finished ninth here two years ago so perhaps I'll come back again. This is the first time I've had a full card so I've got every event bar the Senior Open.

"This is a really good opportunity for me to bed in and see how I perform.

"As much as I love coaching I want to focus on the Senior Tour this year and I've done a lot of work on mental preparations and routines with a good friend of mine Allan Bignell.

"He has been instrumental in moving me in a new direction over the last three or four years and he is the reason I am still playing golf I would say.

"For me it was a matter of approaching 50, looking back at my career and realising I had to do things differently otherwise I was going to get the same results and that's when I met Allan.

"It's really been a three to five year process, it's difficult to change habits when they are ingrained, whether technical or mental, and it takes a lot of time and patience hopefully we see some fruits this year."

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