It’s about 40 years since Neangar Park’s Michael Paterson played on the Australian PGA Tour, but now in his 60s he’s found the secret to golfing success – enjoying the game.
Paterson spends his time on the PGA Legends Tour these days, travelling across the country and sleeping in the back of his Ford Transit as Neangar Park’s touring professional.
It sounds like a good lifestyle, but playing well always helps and Paterson’s struck a rich vein of form.
Playing the Victorian leg of the over-50s Legends Tour, Paterson finished top-10 in the second event at The Dunes Golf Club on September 28 before winning the next tournament – the Sorrento Seniors Pro-Am.
His round of even-par 70 saw him clinch victory by one stroke, which earned him an invite to next month’s $100,000 Australian Senior Open in Perth.
Paterson followed the win with a blistering round of three-under 69 to tie for second at the Portsea Pro-Am at the weekend.
“I’m actually playing better now in my 60s than I was in my 20s, I understand my game and I’m enjoying it more,” he said.
Although he’s been on the Legends Tour for the best part of a decade, Paterson only began playing most of the events in the past few years.
“This year I haven’t played as much, I’ve just come back from a couple of injuries. It’s nice to come back to a little bit of success. It’s extremely competitive, the best score in one round is nine under. Although I struggle with injuries at times, it’s a great lifestyle.”
Although he estimates the total prizemoney for the Legends Tour to be about $1.2 million, that’s spread across several events nationwide.
“The best scores win the money. if you play well you get paid, if not you eat baked beans,” he said. He’s appreciative of his clothing and bag sponsor Mega Golf, but isn’t playing for financial rewards.
Competing against the likes of Wayne Grady, Peter Senior, Ian Baker-Finch and Rodger Davis is part of what makes it worthwhile.
A Bendigo resident since 1999 after stints as a professional at three clubs, Paterson is trying to bring a Legends Tournament to Neangar Park, which has been “exceedingly great to me over the years”.
Paterson hopes to bring the Senior Victorian Open to Bendigo next October or November if a naming rights sponsor can be found.