New dad Lonard eyes golf's Champions Tour

New dad Peter Lonard is hoping to use the next fortnight of Australian golf as a springboard to a new career path on the PGA Tour Champions.

Peter Lonard has 12 professional wins, including Australia's three biggest tournaments.

Peter Lonard has 12 professional wins, including Australia's three biggest tournaments.

It's going to be a hectic time for one of the country's most popular golfers.

Lonard will tee up in the NSW Open at Sydney's Twin Creeks from Thursday then try for a third Australian Open title at The Australian next week before jumping on a plane to the US the following Monday.

It means he will miss the Australian PGA Championship, a tournament he has won three times.

The PGA Tour Champions qualifying final stage in Phoenix starts on the Tuesday so there'll be no practice round before he joins a field of about 150 battling for just five full cards -- fortunately he recently scouted the course.

So he's been working hard to get his game in peak shape for the fresh challenge?

Wrong.

The birth of Lonard and wife Ali's daughter Yvonne in September meant a new priority.

"I haven't done any work at all," Lonard said.

"I have a newborn at home... so I have just snuck in a few practices here and there and that's about it."

Not that he's complaining.

"It's a bit of a change of lifestyle but all very exciting and a blessing," he said.

"It means I've got something else to worry about rather than just golf."

Hence, Lonard expects the NSW Open and Australian Open to tell him plenty about his form and chances of joining the big-name tour veterans on the lucrative American over-50s circuit.

"I should have a fair idea where I sit when I get on that plane, whether I'm feeling pretty comfortable or feeling like I'm in big trouble and have just wasted 10 grand," he said.

Lonard takes confidence from his only previous start in seniors golf -- a tie for third in July's British Senior Open alongside Fred Couples and Billy Andrade behind winner Bernhard Langer and Corey Pavin, earning $A130,000.

He has largely plied his trade on the secondary web.com tour and in Australia in the nine years since a back injury cost him his place on the US PGA Tour, where he won once and enjoyed several very profitable years.

He says the back issues, which required surgeries, have cost him 10-20 metres in distance but he believes he can be competitive on the Tour Champions circuit, where no Australian has won since Rodger Davis in 2003.

"The hardest part is to get in," Lonard said.

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