AKRON, Ohio – John Senden hasn’t won a pro tournament for six years. He won his one and only PGA Tour event at the 2006 John Deere Classic, which came in the same year as his last win in his native Australia (Australian Open).
Senden, 41, certainly doesn’t need to be reminded of that. But if he keeps putting himself into position, he’ll break that streak before too long.
Senden followed his 4-under 66 in the first round of the Bridgestone Invitational with an even-par 70 to get into the clubhouse tied for fifth following two rounds of the year’s third WGC event. He was at 1-under for the day until making bogey on the ninth hole, his last of the day.
“The last two days have been great,” said Senden following his round Friday. “I’ve been driving the ball great. I just need to get out there and do the same work and hopefully be there on Sunday.”
Though wins have been elusive, it’s not as if Senden has been staring up at a stack of leaders every week. He’s had plenty of strong showings the past few years, particularly in bigger tournaments.
In 2009, he finished T11, T20 and T10 in three FedEx Cup playoff events (Deutsche Bank, BMW and Tour Championship, respectively). The story was the same in 2010 when he finished with a T15 at The Barclays and a solo eighth at the Deutsche Bank.
Last year, his strong finishes weren’t limited to FedEx Cup tournaments. He placed T30 at the U.S. Open and T19 at the PGA Championship. And, of course, his customary high finish in the playoffs: a solo second at the BMW.
Senden is having perhaps his most consistent year in recent memory in 2012. In the previous two WGC events, he’s finished T9 and T6 in the Match Play and Cadillac Championship, respectively. He also was T10 at the U.S. Open and a respectable T34 at the British.
In all, Senden has made 13 of 16 cuts this year, and 33 of 42 dating back to last year. His recent run of high finishes in big events should not make him a surprise contender at Firestone Country Club this week.
“I’ve been gearing up for the bigger events this year,” he said. “I’ve been playing consistently all year, so hopefully I can keep the trend going.
“I need to stay focused, and that’s been the difference the last couple years.”
After the Bridgestone Invitational, he still has the PGA Championship ahead, not to mention the FedEx Cup playoffs. He’s sitting 36th in the standings right now and should be a lock to make the postseason.
And a victory? That doesn’t seem to far away either.
– Chuck Curti