Gary Wolstenholme aims to continue his flying start to 2012 at the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship at De Vere Slaley Hall.
The 51-year-old is in a rich vein of form, winning two out of three tournaments on the European Senior Tour - the Mallorca Open Senior and Benahavis Senior Masters. But the Englishman admits the long and testing Hunting Course poses an altogether different challenge to his natural game.
With its emphasis on being long off the tee and with elevated greens, the course is not easy for Wolstenholme who is not one of the longest hitters but enjoys a strong reputation for pinpoint iron play and a good short game.
However if he emerges triumphant to complete a hat-trick of victories then Wolstenholme believes it will rate as one of his finest achievements on a golf course.
“The PGA is one of the flagship events that the European Senior Tour has and for me to do well would be a big deal,” he said.
“One of the things I enjoy about golf is beating myself, you are not just taking on the golf course and the other players, you are also taking on your own inner demons and if I can overcome those to prevail here would be a really big thing.
“This golf course requires a certain kind of play, you’ve got to hit quite a few high approaches into elevated greens and it obviously helps if you can bomb the ball off the tee.
“It suits somebody like Barry Lane. It’s a course he could do well on particularly if he putts well. I have to look at ways to get round the course because I can’t overpower it.
“But if I get my putter going, anything is possible. On occasions my putting is devastating, so if I can putt well, these greens are very difficult, undulating and quick. It is about pace and line, that is one of the greatest tests of the golf course. It is not just getting it in the right place on the green, it is finishing it off.”
After claiming his third Senior Tour title last week, the 2011 Rookie of the Year is in confident mood heading into the 72 hole event.
“I do feel better about myself, you relax a little when you’ve got a few euros under the belt and you can afford to do things slightly differently and not put yourself under undue pressure. That is a good feeling,” he said.
Wolstenholme remains a keen student of the game, using every opportunity to examine ways of making himself better including watching how his rivals perform.
“I am just enjoying it at the moment, I get some great draws, I am playing with Andrew Oldcorn the defending champion in the first round and that’s always good.
“I played with Carl Mason last week, Barry Lane at the US Senior PGA, and Mike Harwood and Mark James. These are great players, who have been incredibly successful and one of my talents is watching other great players and to be able to learn from the way they get the ball round the golf course.”
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