Paul Wesselingh’s opening score of three under par 69 at the Fubon Senior Open in Taiwan has given the Englishman a fantastic opportunity to be crowned the European Senior Tour’s Number One player of 2013.
Weselingh is currently second on the Order of Merit, some €9,932 behind Number One Steen Tinning of Denmark at this, the penultimate event of the season.
But the Englishman’s excellent opening score – which places him second on the leaderboard alongside countryman Bob Cameron and one behind André Bossert of Switzerland – saw him establish a five stroke advantage over Tinning, who posted a first round of two over par 74.
With €60,000 on offer to the winner of the Fubon Senior Open, Wesselingh is hoping to close the gap or preferably overtake Tinning at the top of the Order of Merit before the John Jacobs Trophy is decided at next month’s MCB Tour Championship.
“It’s certainly an exciting finish to the season and I am absolutely loving it,” said Wesselingh, who holed out from over 50 yards for a brilliant eagle three in gusting, swirling winds at the Miramar Golf and Country Club in Taipei.
“There is a long way to go this weekend, but it is a great start for me, especially as Steen could only manage two over today. It was very tough out there but I played well and putted great and managed to put a great score together.”
Bossert was the only man to better Wesselingh as the Swiss, who is making his Senior Tour debut this week, stole four birdies in the testing conditions to make a dream start to his new career.
Lu Wen The of Taiwan is in fourth spot on two under, while Simon P Brown is joined one under by England’s Paul Eales, Scotsman Alan Saddington and Taiwan’s Wang Ter Chang.
Brown is another man who could still be crowned Number One for the year. Currently fourth on the Order of Merit and some €45,386 behind Tinning, he, like Wesselingh, is looking for a big weekend to chase down the ultimate prize.
Bossert, who celebrated his 50th birthday the previous day, opened with a flawless round in tough conditions at Miramar Golf and Country Club in Taiwan, where he was playing with local legend TC Chen and Japan’s Massy Kuramoto.
The Swiss was overwhelmed by the reception he received from his Senior Tour colleagues when he arrived in Taiwan and he gave himself the perfect start to his new career.
“I was actually quite emotional on the first tee and really nervous starting out because I know what a legend TC is out here and Massy is another great player,” said Bossert.
“But I managed to settle down quickly – which you had to do in the tough conditions – and made four birdies and more importantly no bogeys which was the key to keeping it all going. It has been a great start to life on the Senior Tour and I am really looking forward my new career.
“The reception I have received this week has been really special and it has been a lot of fun to see some guys I haven’t spoken to for over ten years. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun playing golf out here."