Wesselingh aiming to create history

PAUL Wesselingh will be bidding to become the first man in history to win the European Senior Tour’s season-ending MCB Tour Championship three times next week when he returns to one of his happiest hunting grounds, Constance Belle Mare Plage.

The 54-year-old former Chorley and Northenden pro followed up his maiden victory in the season finale in 2013 by successfully defending his title in Mauritius 12 months ago, eventually prevailing in a gruelling play-off with Barry Lane on the sixth extra hole.

He recalled: “The play-off last year was just amazing, I thought it was never going to end. We both managed to birdie the 18th five times, which is no mean feat even though it’s a relatively short par five. I holed about a 25-footer for birdie on the third extra hole, so after that I thought maybe it was going to be my day – and that’s how it worked out in the end.

“I just love the place and I love the course, it’s definitely my style of track and that’s been shown in my results the last couple of years. I feel very comfortable there, so I can’t wait to get back and try to make it three in a row.”

David Frost is the only other player to have won the €420,000 tournament twice – in 2010 and 2012 – and the South African will be in the field when Wesselingh bids for his historic hat-trick next week.

But it is another man – runaway Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie – whom Wesselingh fears the most.

He said: “The standard is so good on the Senior Tour that it’s anyone’s tournament to win, but if you were going to pick a favourite then I guess you’d have to go for Colin. He’s now had two tremendous seasons on the Senior Tour, and he’s had umpteen top five finishes on the Champions Tour as well this year. So he’s going to be very dangerous as he always is. The odds are against me winning again, but stranger things have happened and I’ll be giving it my best shot.”

As well as creating history, a second victory of the campaign for Wesselingh, who won the SSE Enterprise Wales Senior Open in May, would also ensure a higher Order of Merit finish than last year, when he came sixth – his current position.

That would be quite some achievement, given that Wesselingh has – by his own admission – struggled for consistency this term.

He said: “I’ve probably tried to play too much this year, and it has cost me in the end. I’ve spent the last six weeks travelling to and from Japan to play on the tour out there, and the jetlag has played havoc with my sleeping pattern. I can’t remember the last time I got a decent night’s sleep! I haven’t had the consistency I would’ve liked, mainly because I’ve been throwing in the odd bad score.

“I played ten tournaments in Japan on top of my ones in Europe, so I’ve played in the region of 23 times this year which is probably too many at my age – especially if you factor in all the travelling. I still love competing but ultimately it’s adversely affected my game and probably my health as well, so I’m looking forward to having some downtime after next week, and hopefully I can sign off with another win.”

 

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