John Senden has seen first hand what it takes to be a major winner and it isn’t necessarily perfection.
In the final group on Saturday a year ago with eventual winner Bubba Watson, Senden learned plenty about major championship pressure, lessons he plans to take into his sixth start at Augusta National.
While Watson would go on to win his second green jacket in three years, Senden took top Australian honours in a tie for eighth.
On the Saturday third round in question both Senden (75) and Watson (74) struggled – but the American was able to recover with a 69 on Sunday for a three-shot Masters win.
“He played fantastic on Friday and fantastic on Sunday to win but on Saturday he didn’t look like the winner at all,” Senden recalls.
“I saw a guy who was reasonably shaky on Saturday still come away with a green jacket so for me I learned, it’s not like I have to play every day the best in my life to win. You just have to be smart.
“It proved to me that if he’s feeling like that, I can to, and it is alright to be nervous, you just have to accept it and keep grinding to do your best and you might come out a winner for it.”
While Senden has struggled of late, missing four of the last five cuts including three on the trot on the US PGA tour the 43-year-old will be drawing on his good memories from 2014.
With coach Ian Triggs in town, the pair have tightened up his ball-striking and come into the event quietly confident.
“In my own heart I believe I can still win but if I was to have the same result I had last year I’d be happy as well,” Senden said.
“The results the last month haven’t been to my best but it has been close.
“Maybe not back to where I was 12 months ago but I feel like I am doing some good work and now I need to put it together when it counts.”