Allen praises Senior PGA venue
PARKER, Colo. – Michael Allen took two decades to win his first big tournament, last year’s Senior PGA Championship.
The 50-year-old, who will defend his title May 25-30 at the Colorado Golf Club in suburban Denver, was in town Monday to get a firsthand look at the course.
“I like what I saw of this spectacular golf course, one that the developers did a wonderful job of keeping the tees close to the greens, so this is a very walkable golf course,” Allen said. “That’s important because there are some 50- and 60-year-olds playing, and that is going to be a little bit of a challenge.”
Tongue in cheek, he quickly added: “I think they need to make sure the ambulance is right below the ninth fairway. It will be a very effective spot.”
Then he returned to a more somber evaluation of the par-72, 7,604-yard course co-designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore.
“Playing at altitude is always a challenge because the way you flight your ball can really determine how far you hit,” he said. “You can hit an 8-iron up in the air and it can take off and go 180 yards out of control or you can play it down, control it and it will go 160 yards.
“I feel controlling my ball is one of my strengths,” he said.
He sees other reasons why the course plays into his hands.
“I think it makes it winnable for me because I’m long enough to take advantage of some of the holes and get myself in good position where I can attack some of these holes with shorter irons than some of the guys,” Allen said. “And the course is open enough that I’m not going to get killed if I don’t hit a drive where I miss a little bit.”
“And I hit my irons well,” he said. “You don’t have to hit them into one little spot like at TPC.”
Besides, he says, he’s more comfortable with his ability to make shots since collecting the winner’s check a year ago at the old Canterbury course near Cleveland.
“What that win gave me was confidence and knowing I could do it,” Allen said. “It was a big thing to overcome.”
He recalled walking the fairway in his individual duel with Larry Mize, who he defeated by two shots, and saying to himself, “Why settle for second place when I can do it? I know I can do it.”
It quieted skeptical friends that he said often wondered out loud why it took so long for him to win a big event.
“A lot of people expected it a lot sooner,” Allen said. “They kept asking me whether I should be winning, but I kept saying it’s a matter of time.”
Allen is coming off a 30th-place finish at the Heritage. He left immediately to play the Legends and will follow it up with Quail Hollow and TPC before returning to Colorado.
“I’ll have played a lot of golf when I get back here,” he said. “I enjoyed winning this event last year. Why not win it again here next month?”