2013 MCB Tour Championship winner – Paul Wesselingh

As Paul Wesselingh wins the 2013 MCB Tour Championship at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius, it marks the latest chapter in the late rise of this remarkable player.

Paul Wesselingh wins MCB Tour Championship 2013

Paul Wesselingh wins MCB Tour Championship 2013

Back in 2001 Wesselingh was a club professional whose success on the regional golf circuit earned him a rare start in a European Tour event at the Belfry.

That tournament was the Benson and Hedges International Open. Wesselingh shot 78 in round one and then retired with a bad back; the winner that week was Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.

To say that both men have had quite a journey since that week is something of an understatement. Stenson has lost form, found it again, lost it again and then, this year, won both the European Tour’s end-of-season event, the DB World Championship, and the Race to Dubai as well (effectively that tour’s order of merit).

Wesselingh, by contrast, returned home to his family, continued to give lessons, sell Mars bars and tee pegs, and play the odd minor tour event. Then six years ago he began to think of the European Senior Tour.

He had first played golf aged seven but his handicap never dipped below three so he became an accountant, but desk work was not for him and he turned pro off five, happy to become a club professional. “I did give the European Tour School a couple of goes,” he said, “but I wasn’t anywhere near good enough.”

He and his wife Tracy had three young boys and Wesselingh preferred to see them grow up than travel the world chasing a golf dream. But by his late-forties he recognised that his golf swing had matured so he began to improve his fitness and get his game in tournament mode.

When he earned a card through tour school he finished second in his first event and won on his fourth start, at the 2012 PGA Seniors Championship at Slaley Hall. By the end of the year he had added another six top ten finishes and was crowned Rookie of the Year.

Many take the foot off the gas after such success, but Wesselingh had been waiting for this opportunity for years and was in no mood to coast.

He started the 2013 season by successfully defending his PGA Seniors Championship title and followed it up with victory in the Bad Ragaz Open.

“It was going so well that a few of the guys suggested I give Champions Tour Qualifying School a go,” he said. “But I decided to focus on the Order of Merit, headed to Taiwan and won the Fubon Open there.”

He arrived in Mauritius confident. The deep confidence that comes from long term success.

“I’ve trusted myself. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have attacked the 18th like I did in round two. You have to go for it at this level.

“The first year I was a little nervous and aware of being in the presence of some great players.”

But this year he has blossomed and when he faced his hero Colin Montgomerie in the final round of the MCB Tour Championship at Constance Belle Mare Plage he was ready to prove how far he had come.

Montgomerie is one of the Ryder Cup’s greatest ever singles performers. His ability to go head-to-head with an opponent and win is legendary. It meant that most of the gallery on the final day expected Monty to thrive and Wesselingh to wilt.

But neither happened. Well, they did, but the wrong way round. The Englishman had that deep confidence in his game and he remained patient on the early holes when the more famous golfer did the opposite. It was a stellar performance and all the more remarkable because he knew he was not just winning an event, but the Order of Merit.

That second trophy proves he has taken on so many of the players he had watched from afar throughout his 30s and 40s … and he had beaten them over the entire season. This was no flukey week, but one year of excellence. Little wonder he was emotional when the scale of the achievement hit him afterwards.

After victory there were scores to check, ceremonies to attend, photos to be taken, interviews to be had. It was a blur of activity, watched by his proud wife (who caddied for him all week) and his three sons.

When it was done, Wesselingh breathed a sigh of relief and asked if he could go now.

“You know what I’m going to do?” he smiled. “Same as I’ve done all week. Every morning I’ve swam in the sea, every night I’ve thrown myself in the plunge pool. I love this place.”

It’s a long way from the Belfry in 2001. 

Stenson and Wesselingh had very different weeks that year. But they’ve had very similar 2013s.

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Tension mounts for final round of MCB Tour Championship 2013

Golf journalist Matt Cooper is reporting on the final day of the MCB Tour Championship 2013 at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius. As play begins, here’s how things are looking.

Legend golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage

Legend golf course, Mauritius

It would be foolish to entirely discount all but the top two on the leaderboard, but it does seem likely that the winner will come from the final group and the battle is an intriguing one.

Leading the tournament by three shots on 11-under-par is Englishman Paul Wesselingh, a three-time winner on tour this year and the current holder of top spot in the Order of Merit.
 
Up against him, on eight-under-par and three shots clear of third, is Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, an eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner and eight-time Ryder Cup player.
 
Follow Matt Cooper on Twitter @MattCooperGolf

Paul Wesselingh tops Order of Merit with Taiwan win

With only the MCB Tour Championship left to play, Paul Wesselingh has moved to the top of the European Senior Tour Order of Merit following a win at the Fubon Senior Open in Taiwan.

Paul Wesselingh

Paul Wesselingh

The Englishman has pushed Denmark’s Steen Tinning into second place in the Order of Merit, promising to make the fight for the coveted John Jacobs Trophy at the MCB Championship a dramatic one.

The MCB Tour Championship is held at Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius in December and its prize fund of €400,000 could make the crucial difference in deciding which player gets to raise the trophy.

Wesselingh is reported as saying, ‘It’s great to be back on top of the Order of Merit with a nice lead. It’s going to be between me and Steen to win. I love to play in Mauritius and it’s going to be a very exciting event.’

Wesslingh won the Fubon Senior Open at the Miramar Golf and Country Club in Taiwan with a one shot victory over home favourite Le Wen-the.

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Wesselingh battles to Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open win

Paul Wesselingh has won his second tournament of the season following a dramatic play-off at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open with former MCB Champion Kevin Spurgeon.

Paul Wesselingh

Paul Wesselingh

The two British golfers battled it out on the Swiss Bad Ragaz course with Spurgeon ultimately drawing level with Wesselingh forcing the pair to play extra holes. It was only a birdie on the third extra hole, the 18th, which secured the win for Wesselingh.

Kevin Spurgeon is no stranger to dramatic battles having fought hard to win the MCB Tour Championship held in Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius, back in 2009.

This latest win places Wesselingh at the top of the European Senior Tour Order of Merit after just four events this year.

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Paul Wesselingh wins ISPS Championship

English golfer Paul Wesselingh stormed to victory for the second year running at this years’ ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship.

Links golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Links golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Held at Mottram Hall in Cheshire last week, Wesslingh produced a stunning 20 under par total, including a flawless final round, to hold off all challengers and take the ISPS Championship.

The win sees Wesselingh climb to the top of the Senior Tour Order of Merit putting him in a strong position to make it to the MCB Tour Championship held at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius in December.

Wesselingh was reported as saying, ‘It’s unbelievable, I just can’t believe I’ve done it. Couldn’t believe I’d done it last year and I can’t believe I’ve done it again this year.’

Challenging Wesselingh for the top spot was Paraguay’s Angel Franco coming in second with 16 under par and fellow Englishman Ian Woosnam who came in third.

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