Wesselingh on course to retain title

PAUL Wesselingh and David Frost, the last two winners of the MCB Tour Championship, are set to battle it out for the title again, with the latter taking a one stroke advantage over the defending champion into the final round of the 2014 European Senior Tour season.

Ex-Chorley and Northenden pro Wesselingh had set the pace for majority of the second round at Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius, following five birdies and one bogey in his opening 16 holes, but the lead eventually swung in Frost’s favour on the final hole.

First, South African Frost two putted from 40ft for a closing birdie to set the clubhouse target of seven under par with a round of 68, before Wesselingh, playing in the group behind, left his third shot from 100 yards some 50 yards short of the green and could only manage a bogey.

That meant Wesselingh signed for a round of 69 to fall back to six under par, with Frost moving into pole position for a third triumph over the Legend Course in the last five years.

“I hit the ball really well after a practice session last night, which give me a feel of what I wanted to do today,” said Frost. “Hopefully I can keep swinging it like that tomorrow and keep hitting the good shots.

“Overall, I’m happy with my game. I struck it well and putted well. The rain overnight slowed the greens and I missed some putts, but everyone did. It was nice to finish with that birdie and have the lead. I had 200 yards to the front and hit a good shot in, which ran to the back leaving me a 40ft putt, and thankfully I could two-putt from there, so it was nice to finish on a high.”

Wesselingh took a three stroke lead into the final round 12 months ago and went on to win by five shots from Frost and Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin, as he sealed the 2013 Senior Tour Order of Merit in style. It will be Frost who will be hoping to perfect the art of front-running this time, although he is aware of the threat posed by his nearest rival, as well as the rest of the strong field.

“Paul is a good player, as he showed last year, but all of the guys here are,” said Frost. “You don’t want to watch one player as then someone can come out of the pack, so you just have to concentrate on your own game and not think about others. When there are five to six holes to play, it is a different story. It’s nice to be up there again though, and it would be nice to win this title again, but there are 18 holes and a lot can happen. It can be a tricky course so I just hope I can play some more steady golf, let things go a bit and not try to be too perfect.”

Wesselingh will not have the added pressure of leading or trying to secure the John Jacobs Trophy this time round, as Colin Montgomerie possesses an unassailable lead in the Order of Merit, and the 52 year old believes he can improve on his opening pair of 69s in the final round.

“I had some ups and downs today,” said Wesselingh. “I holed some stupid putts, but the par fives let me down again today. I dropped one on the last because of my third shot, and I didn’t birdie any of them today. So that’s disappointing. But I holed some long putts. The 16th was stupidly long, about 50ft, so in general, I’m happy.

“I would like to have finished seven under alongside David, but it’s nice to be in the last group again. I’m still in contention. David is obviously playing well, but I feel there is a low score out there for me somewhere. I’m in position and we will see what happens.”

Overnight leader Barry Lane posted a level par round of 72 and shares third place on four under par with Swiss Andre Bossert, Denmark’s Steen Tinning, Scotland’s Bill Longmuir and Argentine Cesar Monasterio, all of whom signed for rounds of 69.

Meanwhile, Montgomerie, who will be presented with the John Jacobs Trophy on Sunday for winning the Senior Tour Order of Merit, is five shots off the lead on two under par following a one under par round of 71. The Scot bookended his front nine with birdies on the first and ninth holes, but came back in 37 shots, his card including back-to-back bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes, before a closing birdie on the 18th.

Andrew Murray (Lymm) and Paul Eales (Hillside) were 10 shots off the pace.

SCORES

137 D Frost (RSA) 69 68,

138 P Wesselingh (Eng) 69 69,

140 S Tinning (Den) 71 69, B Lane (Eng) 68 72, C Monasterio (Arg) 71 69, B Longmuir (Sco) 71 69, A Bossert (Sui) 71 69,

141 R Gibson (Can) 71 70, A Sherborne (Eng) 70 71, G Rusnak (USA) 70 71, C Williams (RSA) 70 71, J Remesy (Fra) 72 69, M Davis (Eng) 69 72,

142 G Manson (Aut) 74 68, R Drummond (Sco) 71 71, D Smyth (Irl) 72 70, C Montgomerie  (Sco) 71 71,

143 J Gould (Eng) 72 71, G Ryall (Eng) 71 72,

144 I Woosnam (Wal) 73 71, S McAllister (Sco) 75 69, J Sallat (Fra) 71 73,

145 R Rafferty (Nir) 74 71, G Wolstenholme (Eng) 75 70, A Oldcorn (Sco) 72 73, D Russell (Eng) 74 71, P Golding (Eng) 75 70, P Linhart (Esp) 74 71,

146 G Brand Jnr (Sco) 76 70, J Quiros (Esp) 74 72, M Martin (Esp) 73 73, W Grant (Eng) 75 71, P Fowler (Aus) 75 71,

147 M Cunning (USA) 73 74, N Job (Eng) 73 74, B Conser (USA) 73 74, P Eales (Eng) 76 71, J Berendt (Arg) 69 78, A Murray (Eng) 76 71, S Luna (Esp) 73 74, J Smith (USA) 73 74, K Spurgeon (Eng) 71 76, J Carriles (Esp) 76 71, T Thelen (USA) 74 73,

148 B Cameron (Eng) 73 75, P Walton (Irl) 73 75, J Bruner (USA) 74 74, M Mackenzie (Eng) 74 74, D Hospital (Esp) 77 71,

149 A Franco (Par) 77 72, M Mouland (Wal) 72 77, M Farry (Fra) 79 70,

150 S Brown (Eng) 74 76, G Bell (Eng) 77 73, S Cipa (Eng) 75 75,

153 J Rivero (Esp) 80 73, S Torrance (Sco) 77 76,

154 M McLean (Eng) 78 76,

157 D O’Sullivan (Irl) 78 79,

159 V Seeneevassen (am) (Mus) 83 76,

168 G Emerson (Eng) 86 82,

 

 

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