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Chalmers seeking salvation at Coolum

Greg ChalmersCOOLUM, Australia, Dec 11 - Greg Chalmers says he will have to improve his short game if he is to successfully defend his title this week at the Australian PGA Championship, presented by Coca-Cola.

The Aussie left-hander came into the "down under" swing of the OneAsia circuit as defending champion in both events, but was blown off course by strong winds on Sunday at the Emirates Australian Open in Sydney, and now wants to redeem himself in Coolum on the Sunshine Coast.

The A$1.25 million tournament, co-sanctioned by  both OneAsia and the PGA Tour of Australasia, takes place at the Palmer Coolum Resort from December 13-16.

"I'm really looking forward to doing a better job of defending the PGA than I did at the Open," Chalmers said after a nine-hole practice round on Tuesday.

"My short game was terrible last week -- and it can't be terrible when it blows 50 kph."

Chalmers said the wind meant it was difficult to gauge the state of his game.

"It's really hard to tell how you hit it last week because it was so windy and you hit a lot of goofy shots where you are not making normal golf swings," he said.

"But when I got to make normal golf swings, I felt like I swing them petty good.

"So the short game is mainly an area that wasn't as sharp as I want, and that is a reflection of the effort put in -- I just hadn't done enough."

Peter Senior, 53, who on Sunday became the oldest-ever winner of his country's National Open, won the Australian PGA's headline tournament as a 51-year-old for a third time in 2011, proving that a half-century is no handicap in the professional game.

"We are lucky that we live and play a long-life sport and I am looking forward to the next couple of seasons," he said on Tuesday.

"Coolum has been a good hunting ground for me and I have played pretty well here over the last few years. It is a course that the longer hitters don’t have that great an advantage. It is more placement, and if I can putt as well as I did last week, who knows."

The field boasts most of Australia's best golfers including a roll call of former champions in Greg Norman, Robert Allenby, Geoff Ogilvy, Nick O'Hern and Craig Parry.

Allenby finished joint runner-up last year with Marcus Fraser after both lost at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off to Chalmers.

North Ireland's Darren Clarke is playing again having first competed last year when he won Britain's Open Championship, while another marquee attraction is South African Rory Sabbatini, who led the tournament after three rounds in 2007 and is back for another crack at the title.