Wesselingh ready for epic battle at the top

10/16/2013 5:10:24 PM
Paul Wesselingh  (Getty Images)
Paul Wesselingh (Getty Images)

Paul Wesselingh is relishing the opportunity of wresting back the Senior Tour Order of Merit Number One spot from Steen Tinning and claiming the John Jacobs Trophy as the 2013 season draws to an epic conclusion.

The penultimate event of the campaign takes place in Taiwan next month as the stunning Miramar Golf & Country Club in Taipei plays host to the Fubon Senior Open, where Wesselingh finished fifth last year en route to the Rookie of the Year award.

Then comes the decider, the prestigious season-ending MCB Tour Championship at Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius, where Tinning and Wesselingh, among others, will battle it out in the hope of carving their name on the John Jacobs Trophy alongside the likes of Roger Chapman (2012), Sam Torrance (2005, 2006 and 2009) and Ian Woosnam (2008).

Mathematically, all of the top ten in the Order of Merit can still yet overtake rookie Tinning at the top before the conclusion of another dramatic Senior Tour season.

The experience of 2011 Number One Peter Fowler, Scot Andrew Oldcorn, David J Russell of England and Paraguayan veteran Angel Franco is offset by the more youthful faces on the tour such as Simon P Brown – a two-time winner in his rookie season - his English compatriot Philip Golding, Miguel Angel Martin and fellow Spaniard Santiago Luna, also a winner in his rookie season.

Englishman Wesselingh, for one, is thoroughly looking forward to the battle to reclaim the top spot, having been deposed by Tinning after the Dane’s win at the English Senior Open two weeks ago, and attempting to secure what he says would be the biggest achievement of his career.

“If somebody said to me at the beginning of the year I was going to win twice and be second in the Order of Merit at this time of the year I would have snapped their hand off,” said the 52 year old.

“I'm trying not to think about the rankings but obviously there will be some focus on it coming towards the end of the season. I feel if I start focussing on that side of things too much I won’t be concentrating on what I'm doing.

“There was a period when Bernhard Langer came off the Order of Merit where I was looking at the scoreboard the whole time seeing what everybody else was doing and that’s not good so I'm trying not to get too caught up with expectations.

“I've obviously got Taiwan coming up and I love Mauritius. If I win the John Jacobs Trophy then that would of course be great but if I don’t then it is not the end of the world – either way I'm delighted with the year I've had.

“I actually went out at the start of this year thinking if I could do exactly what I did last year I’d be happy and obviously at the minute I've won twice and it’s been better, so that’s great.

“Myself and Steen were talking about it in the Netherlands, saying it’s great for us both to be fighting for the Order of Merit. It would be fantastic if I could become Senior Tour Number One, because I got the Rookie of the Year last year and to follow that up by winning the Order of Merit would be nice.

“To win the John Jacobs Trophy would definitely be the highlight of my career, absolutely. I'm in my first two years on the Senior Tour so to get the job done would be a fantastic achievement.”

Wesselingh has admitted it has been a dream journey on the Senior Tour so far, having earned his place on the 2012 schedule via Qualifying School, and thinks that the fact he enters the season’s final two events in second place in the Order of Merit could prove a blessing in disguise.

“I have exceeded all of my own expectations,” he said. “Last year I thought if I could go out and get a top 30 in my first season I’d be happy. Obviously then I won my fourth event, managed top five in the Order of Merit and then got the Rookie of the Year, so I'm just loving every minute of it now.

“It’s great to be playing well and I've had a couple of years and now I just have to keep myself fit as I get older and the younger guys come along.

“Mauritius should be a humdinger and I should hopefully still be battling for the top spot, provided I play well in Taiwan.

“I'm looking forward to the battle and I must admit I’m more comfortable being behind and not leading the race. I don’t feel comfortable leading and watching what everybody else is doing so it’s perfect at the moment.”