Senior Tour hopefuls aim to emulate Wesselingh

2/2/2014 3:40:53 PM
 Paul Wesselingh of England poses with the John Jacobs Trophy  ()
Paul Wesselingh of England poses with the John Jacobs Trophy ()
Paul Wesselingh’s meteoric rise from Senior Tour Qualifying School graduate to John Jacobs Trophy glory will provide the ultimate inspiration for this year’s hopefuls when they battle it out at Pestana Golf Resort’s Pinta Course, all hoping to secure a card for the 2014 season.

The 52 First Stage qualifiers will join 22 exempt players for the 72-hole showdown on Portugal’s beautiful Algarve coast as they look to follow in the footsteps of Wesselingh and last year’s most successful Q-School graduate Simon P Brown.

Brown finished second behind David James at Pestana last year before going on to achieve some career highs during the 2013 season.

The German-based Englishman finished his Rookie season in third position in the Order of Merit after two victories, including a glorious win at the Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior) where, playing alongside Scottish legend Colin Montgomerie, Brown fired a stunning approach to within inches of the hole for a birdie which earned him a two-shot victory over Mike Harwood and Carl Mason.

His second victory came at the Dutch Senior Open, where the 50 year old beat Scot Ross Drummond by two shots after the final round was cancelled due to inclement weather conditions.

While Brown’s achievements were laudable, Wesselingh has been one of the greatest success stories in the history of Senior Tour Qualifying School after he finished top of the Order of Merit in his second season last year.

Having won his maiden title at the 2012 ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship, the 52 year old brought his game to a whole new level last year with four victories, including the lucrative season-ending MCB Tour Championship which secured the famous John Jacobs Trophy.

Wesselingh’s first title of an extraordinary season came thanks to a successful defence of his ISPS Handa Seniors Championship title, before victories at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open and the Fubon Senior Open were followed by his crowning glory in Mauritius.

His success will provide real motivation for the players present in Portugal this week, as they hope to join some of European golf’s greatest legends on the Senior Tour, including former Ryder Cup Captains Mark James, Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam.

Among the players exempt for Final Stage are European Tour winners Stephen Bennett, Stephen McAllister, Gerry Norquist and Andrew Murray as well as Senior Tour winners Glenn Ralph, George Ryall and Bobby Lincoln.

The top six at the end of the week will receive full membership for the 2014 Senior Tour season while the players who finish from seventh to 14th will be given conditional status.