Wolstenholme targets Senior Tour Majors

22/01/2013 13:53:00
Gary Wolstenholme  (Getty Images)
Gary Wolstenholme (Getty Images)
Gary Wolstenholme says he will leave “no stone unturned” in his attempts to make the next big step in his career by capturing a Senior Major title in 2013.

Wolstenholme was twice successful in claiming one of the most coveted prizes in amateur golf, the Amateur Championship, during a long and successful career in the unpaid ranks.

After a swift transition to the European Senior Tour, which has yielded three victories in as many seasons, the six-time Walker Cup player now wants to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Roger Chapman – who sealed an astounding senior Major double last year with wins at the US Senior PGA Championship Presented by KitchenAid and US Senior Open.

“I try not to set myself goals,” Wolstenholme told the Lancaster Guardian. “But I want to try and get ten wins in my career and I think a Major is just as possible.

“I have obviously got a finite time in which to do it but there is no reason why I can’t win one of them, barring the pressure I would be putting on myself.

“It’s just about finding the right golf course and the right opportunity and I can win. I have proven that.

“Whether it be nutrition, vitamins, fitness or gym work, I’m going to leave no stone unturned to give myself the best opportunity in 2013 in order to improve on what I did in 2012.”

Two players who will also have their eyes set on Major success this year are Tim Thelen and Paul Wesselingh, and they will provide a huge source of inspiration for those competing in this week’s Senior Tour Qualifying School First Stage on the stunning Algarve coast.

Thelen will have three shots at Major glory in this campaign having finished in third place in the 2012 Senior Tour Order of Merit thanks to three wins, in the Berenberg Bank Masters, the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open and the Fubon Senior Open.

That has earned the 2011 Qualifying School winner a place in the US Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid and the US Senior Open as well as The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex.

Wesselingh’s fifth place finish in the Order of Merit was not enough to seal a place in the US Senior Open but the Englishman, who finished in second place behind Dick Mast at last year’s Qualifying School Final Stage, will play in two of the three Majors this year after a superb start to his Senior Tour career in 2012, which yielded one victory at the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship.

Those attempting to follow in the footsteps of Thelen and Wesselingh begin their journey at the Qualifying School First Stage on Thursday in Portugal, over two of the Pestana Resorts fine courses, Gramacho Golf Club and Silves Golf.

Over 80 players will play on each course before the qualifiers from First Stage are joined by 17 exempt players for the Final Stage from January 28–31, which for the 12th time takes place at Pestana’s Vale da Pinta.

The Final Stage will be contested by 72 players over four rounds – with a cut after the third round - and the leading six players will receive full cards for the 2013 season. Players finishing in positions seven to 14 will receive conditional cards.

Among the players exempt for the Final Stage are former European Tour champion Stephen Bennett, who won the 1985 Tunisian Open, former Senior Tour winner Bertus Smit, who claimed the 2009 Speedy Services Wales Senior Open, and 2007 Jersey Senior Classic champion Bobby Lincoln.