Midland ace set for US Senior PGA debut

5/18/2012 5:11:14 PM
Paul Wesselingh  (Getty Images)
Paul Wesselingh (Getty Images)

Paul Wesselingh’s blistering start to life in the senior ranks continues to hit new heights after he secured a place in next week’s US Senior PGA Championship.

The Kedleston Park pro earned his spot in the first senior major of the season, which is being held at Harbor Shores, Michigan, on the back of his stunning debut in the Mallorca Open Senior, where he finished tied second.

The six-time PGA Cup player claimed one of two exemptions on offer at Mallorca, the other going to fellow PGA pro Andrew Sherborne (The Kendleshire). The pair will be joined in the US by the top 18 players from last year's Senior Tour Order of Merit.

Wesselingh had further cause to celebrate after winning the Senior PGA Professional Championship at Northants County on Friday to cap a memorable two weeks.

He admitted he was stunned to have secured a place in the $2m USPGA tournament and was left with a massive dilemma as the championship clashed with next week’s BMW PGA Championship, which he has also qualified for via the Titleist PGA Play-Offs.

But he revealed the choice was made much easier following a chat with Australian Mike Harwood, a former PGA Champion.

“As soon as I signed my card in the tournament office on Sunday I was given a pack by an official and told ‘there you are, you’ve got into the USPGA Seniors’,” said Wesselingh.

“I asked when it was and was told ‘next week’. I replied I’m playing at Wentworth and he said ‘well you’ve got to make your mind up by midday Monday’.

“I was stunned with that and Mike Harwood, who I had just played with, had heard the conversation and took me to one side. He asked me how many times I'd played Wentworth and I told him seven. He then said ‘how well have you done?’, and I told him I made the cut once.

“He said ‘It’s a no brainer, go to the States. If you play the way you did you could be competing for it’. I also learned that any money I win there will count towards the Order of Merit, which will help give me a head start on a lot of the other players, while there’s also the experience as well.”

The late change of plan has also benefited one of Wesselingh’s three children, who will be going to the US with him.

“Ryan was going to caddy for me at Wentworth and now I’m going to take him to America with me,” said Wesselingh.
“He’s getting a nice trip but that also means the others want the same so I have had to promise them that.”

Wesselingh’s withdrawal from the BMW PGA Championship has seen Elie’s David Patrick, winner of one Scottish Region Order of Merit this season secure a late-call up to The European Tour's flagship event.