Paul Wesselingh’s stunning performance in the MCB Tour Championship rounded off a dream 2013 campaign for the former club professional, who joins an illustrious group of players to win the John Jacobs Trophy.
The 51 year old became the second Englishman in a row to lift the John Jacobs Trophy at Constance Belle Mare Plage, succeeding 2012 winner Roger Chapman, after winning four times, including the season-ending event in Mauritius, and recording five other top ten finishes.
It completes a remarkable rise for the six-time PGA Cup player, who came through both stages of the Qualifying School at the start of the 2012 season to join some of golf’s most celebrated names, such as Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, on the Senior Tour, then emulating their achievements in winning the Order of Merit.
He made a seamless start to his new career last season, finishing tied second on his debut in the Mallorca Open Senior and then winning ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship the following month in just his fourth appearance.
Wesselingh finished the 2012 season in fifth place on the Order of Merit, earning him the Rookie of the Year Award, and he built on those foundations this term, successfully defending his title in the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship.
He then won twice more, in the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open and last month’s Fubon Senior Open, before sealing the John Jacobs Trophy in style with a final title of the year in Mauritius, completing back-to-back victories at the end of the season and becoming the first player since Boonchu Ruangkit in 2010 to win four times in a campaign.
Wesselingh becomes the 14th different player to win the Order of Merit since the Senior Tour’s inception in 1992, ending the season a commanding €105,558 clear of Denmark’s Steen Tinning on the 2013 Senior Tour Order of Merit, with earnings of €311,644.
It was the biggest winning margin of victory on the Order of Merit since Carl Mason’s record breaking third win in 2007, emphasising Wesselingh’s dominance.
“I’m so proud to be able to hold the John Jacobs Trophy,” said Wesselingh. “To be able to play with so many great players over the last two years, who have welcomed me on to the Tour, is very special.
“The last two years have just been incredible. My life has changed so much. It is unbelievable, to play alongside guys such as Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, who I watched for so many years on TV as a club pro. I idolised these guys and they were my heroes. It is wonderful just to play with them and it certainly upped my game.
“The names on this trophy is amazing. Now my name is on it too and it makes me feel so very proud.”
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “It has been wonderful to see the arrival of Paul on the European Senior Tour and his success this season is just reward for the incredible amount of work he has put in, both prior to joining us and over the two years he has been with us on the Tour.
“It is an amazing achievement to follow the Rookie of the Year in 2012 with the Order of Merit title and John Jacobs Trophy in 2013, and not only is he a great champion, he is also extremely popular with the sponsors, promoters and Pro-Am partners that he plays with, as well as his fellow professionals.”
Wesselingh also took the plaudits from his fellow professionals following his clinical performance in Mauritius.
Fellow Englishman Chapman, the winner of the John Jacobs Trophy in 2012 and a double-Senior Major Champion, said: “I’m really chuffed for Paul. He has played the best golf this year, week-in, week-out this year.
“It has been an impressive display from him. When he first came out on Tour, I thought he was fit, eager and he wanted it. I’m delighted for him
“I know myself what a big honour it is to win the John Jacobs Trophy, and he should be very proud.”
Tinning, who finished runner up to Wesselingh on the 2013 Order of Merit, was also full of praise for the Englishman’s success.
“What Paul has achieved this year is tremendous,” he said. “I played with him for the first time in the first round in Mauritius and he showed no weaknesses. His overall game is superb.
“He’s one of the top senior pros in the world right now. He’s showed it in Taiwan and he showed in here in Mauritius. It really is great stuff and you have to congratulate him on how he has played this year and on his achievement in winning the Order of Merit.”
Tinning trailed Wesselingh by €47,936 going into the season finale in Mauritius, meaning that he needed to win the MCB Tour Championship and rely on Wesselingh finishing outside the top seven.
However, he could only manage a share of 20th position to end the year with earnings of €206,086, taking second place on the Order of Merit.
Tinning has the consolation of succeeding Wesselingh as the Rookie of the Year, becoming the first Dane to earn the honour and only the third recipient from continental Europe, following José Rivero of Spain in 2006 and Italian Costantino Rocca in 2007.
Simon P Brown, like Tinning a two-time winner in 2013, finished the season in third position on the Order of Merit with earnings of €181,492, followed by Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin in fourth with €181,349 and Australian Peter Fowler, the 2011 John Jacobs Trophy winner, in fifth with €174,993.
Englishman Philip Golding overtook Scotland’s Andrew Oldcorn in the battle for sixth position, with Spaniard Santiago Luna, Paraguay’s Angel Franco and Englishman David J Russell completing the top ten.
Colin Montgomerie, the 2010 European Ryder Cup Captain, ended his debut season on the Senior Tour in 11th position.