July 13, 2007
After a few stumbles out of the gate, Pete Oakley’s 2007 golf tournament season is showing signs of heating up.
On Monday afternoon, July 9, I reached the Director of Golf for The Rookery Golf Course as he waited for a flight out of Milwaukee’s airport.
“I’m just kind of stuck right now,” he said. “I finished the [U.S.] Senior Open yesterday and I’m trying to make my connecting flight to Geneva out of New York. It doesn’t look like I’m going to make it. I’ll have to try some other way to get to France.”
Oakley is playing a full schedule of events on the European Seniors Tour, and came back to the States for the Senior Open. He’s hoping that his tie for 49th place will be added to his earnings total on the European Tour. “I’m in 33rd place right now, and trying to make sure I end up in the top 30 by the end of the season. If this counts that will help a lot.”
It’s sometimes surprising what $12,002 can do for someone in the right circumstances.
“I’ve started to play better and better,” Oakley said. “I guess I didn’t realize how my reaction to my brother’s death would affect me.”
Oakley started his European Tour season with a tie for 16th place in the DGM Barbados Open in March. The tour then took a break until May, when Oakley traveled to Turkey for the Gloria Classic at the Gloria Golf Resort in Belek. He tied for 17th place, earning 5,037 Euros.
The next week Oakley bumped down to a tie for 32d place in the Sharp Italian Seniors Open in Venice on May 20. He then traveled to South Carolina for the Senior PGA Championship in late May, at the tough Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Oakley missed the cut with a combined 12-over par for the first two rounds.
Oakley started a slow bounce-back the next week, traveling to Ireland for the AIB Irish Seniors Open at PGA National, in County Kildare. Despite an 11-over par total over three days, he picked up 1,755 Euros in a tie for 46th.
He had a much better tournament in his next event, finishing tied for ninth place in the Jersey Seniors Classic on June 10. He also made his 15th hole-in-one, which didn’t earn him a car, but nonetheless had its own special reward. “The sponsors gave me 188 bottles of their wine for that hole-in-one, one for each yard on the par-3,” Oakley laughed.
Oakley blamed his next event’s poor results on a broken driver, at the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open at Conwy GC. “That’s one of the bigger events on the Senior Tour, and I was looking forward to playing well. I used my caddie’s knock-off driver, and lost a lot of strokes.” He tied for 39th place, good for 3,457 Euros.
Armed with a new Adams driver replacement, Oakley then tied for 15th place in the next event, the Bendinat London Senior Masters held at The London GC in Kent.
As for his Senior Open performance, Oakley was clearly pleased with how he handled the tough conditions at the Whistling Straits course along Lake Michigan. “It was really cool. That is a beautiful piece of real estate. It was also a typical Pete Dye monstrous design,” Oakley said.
“The golf course got harder and harder each day. It was set up fairly easily the first two rounds, and there wasn’t much wind. Then they made the course set-up much harder, and the winds started howling on the last two days. My low-ball hitting helped, but there wasn’t a lot of roll and the course was really long.”
After Oakley figured out his alternative travel itinerary, he still intended to play the French Seniors Open this weekend at Divonne les Bains. He’s then scheduled to play the British Senior Open after that, scheduled for July 26-29.
“I haven’t played Muirfield, and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.