Tim Thelen (Getty Images)
The pressure might be off for Tim Thelen as he heads into this week’s MCB Tour Championship, but the in-form American still has plenty to play for in Mauritius.
After three victories already this season, Thelen tees it up in the final European Senior Tour event of 2012 just €8,157 behind Barry Lane in the race to finish second in the Order of Merit.
Thelen was victorious in the previous Senior Tour event in Taiwan, adding the Fubon Senior Open title to his earlier victories in the Berenberg Bank Masters in Germany and the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in Switzerland.
Now he has the chance to end his magnificent year as runner up to Roger Chapman in the Senior Tour Order of Merit, the Englishman having already secured the John Jacobs Trophy following his own superb season in which in won both the US Senior PGA presented by KitchenAid and the US Senior Open.
Having exceeded even his own expectations in just his second season on the Senior Tour, long-time club professional Thelen is content with what he has already achieved in 2012.
“I’m trying to not really think too much about this week or trying to catch Barry,” said Thelen. “He is a fantastic player. He finished second last year and is there again this year. I’m sure I will maybe think about it a bit more if I have a chance on Sunday coming down the stretch, but I just want to go out and enjoy this week.
“All my goals this year have pretty much been accomplished so that takes the pressure off me a little bit. I’m just going to try my best this week and see what happens.
“It’s been a great year for me and I just wanted to get into the top four on the Order of Merit to get into next year’s US Senior Open, which I have achieved.
“I’ve never really put that much pressure on myself having been a club pro for 23 years. I really didn’t know what to expect last year when I got my card, but I worked hard and that hard work has paid off.
“I didn’t play that well here last year and finished in the middle of the pack. But it is always a little easier second time round and I will know the course a little better. So hopefully I can do well this week.”
Thelen is friends with defending champion Tom Lehman from their time together in Minnesota, and Lehman has identified him as one of the big threats at Constance Belle Mare Plage.
Similarly, Thelen believes the 1996 Open Champion will also be tough to beat and is looking forward to catching up with his long-time friend.
“Tom and I grew up 40 minutes apart and it’s been great to watch him over the years,” he said.
“We’ve always kept in touch and it will be great to see him this week. He’s been a huge success story and he is a fantastic player who will be hard to beat this week.”