Wesselingh in mood to defend title

PAUL Wesselingh returns to the scene of his most cherished golfing memory tomorrow as he attempts to successfully defend a European Senior Tour title for the second time in the MCB Tour Championship.The former Chorley and Northenden pro won the season-ending tournament  in Mauritius by five strokes 12 months ago – his fourth victory of 2013 – to seal the Order of Merit title, crowning a dream campaign and a fairy tale journey from long term club professional to Senior Tour Number One.


SHOWMAN: Wesselingh demonstrates his talents

He was joined in the final group last year by Colin Montgomerie, one of his golfing heroes, who will succeed him as the winner of the John Jacobs Trophy, the Scot having matched Wesselingh’s 2013 achievement of winning four titles.

While Wesselingh will relinquish that piece of silverware on Sunday afternoon, he is determined to keep hold to the MCB Tour Championship trophy, having previously won the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship back-to-back in 2012 and 2013.

“It’s wonderful to come back here,” he said. “The course suits my style of play and I’m playing all right, so hopefully I will have a good week. The emphasis round here is accuracy off the tee and generally that is a strength of mine.

“I’ve managed to defend before so hopefully I can do it again, but it is a great field so I’ll have to play well. I feel comfortable here and feel good about my game.”

Wesselingh’s recollections of this triumph over the Legend Course at Constance Belle Mare Plage remain vivid, in particular his superb rescue club approach from 225 yards to five feet on the final hole of the 2013 season, which effectively confirmed his Order of Merit crown and subsequently was voted Senior Tour Shot of the Year.

“When I played a practice round on Tuesday I actually stopped where I hit that shot from on the 18th last year and thought, my God,” he said. “I suppose I had a few shots to spare at the time, but it was special to play that shot. I’m still gutted I missed the eagle putt though. The approach won Senior Tour Shot of the Year, and I think if there had been a Worst Shot of the Year the putt would have won that. I was so nervous over that putt for some reason. I don’t know why. I think walking on to green, I suddenly realised what I had achieved during the year. I’ve got some great memories though.”

Wesselingh begins his title defence alongside Peter Fowler, who has fond memories of the Legend Course himself having sealed the Order of Merit crown at the MCB Tour Championship in 2011.

The pair are ninth and tenth on this year’s Order of Merit respectively and need to break into the top six to earn a spot in the 2015 US Senior Open. Wesselingh has already won once this season, defeating home favourite Bernhard Langer and Englishman Phil Golding in a play-off to capture the WINSTONgolf Senior Open in Germany, and after overcoming a difficult start to 2014, he is feeling self-assured about his game once more.

“I had a shaky start to this year, and amazingly it was a confidence thing,” said Wesselingh. “When you win the Order of Merit you just hope it isn’t a one off. It shows you how the mind works. But then I had a couple of bits of luck in Germany and that set me up for the remainder of the season, and hopefully I can end it well this week. I’m playing nicely and I have started to putt nicely, which is the big difference, so the confidence is high again.”








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