Paul on a par with the elite

<<enter caption here>> on June 10, 2012 in Hexham, England.
<<enter caption here>> on June 10, 2012 in Hexham, England.

PAUL Wesselingh, who began his professional career at Chorley, outshone some of European golf’s biggest names to land the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors’ Championship at his first attempt.

The Kedleston Park professiona fired a brilliant five-under-par 67 including four successive birdies from the 12th to snatch victory at De Vere Slaley Hall by just one shot from defending champion Andrew Oldcorn and Sweden’s Anders Forsbrand, with former Ryder Cup captain Mark James in fourth place.

It was also a good day for PGA pros Peter Smith, from Deeside, and Steve Cipa, from South Essex, who tied fifth alongside Peter Fowler.

But all the plaudits were for Wesselingh celebrating his maiden European Senior Tour title at just the third time of trying.

The 50-year-old, who pocketed a £40,000 cheque to move to second in the Order of Merit, admitted it had been a crazy month since announcing his arrival on the senior circuit just under a month ago with a share of second at the Mallorca Senior Open.

“It is a crazy start to my seniors’ career, I just can’t believe it,” said Wesselingh, who followed up his second place with 21st at the US Senior PGA Championship and joint seventh at the Benahavis Senior Classic plus a victory in the Senior PGA Professional Championship squeezed in too.

“It’s fantastic to win the PGA Seniors’ Championship.

“I had a quick look at the trophy and there are some fantastic names on there and now I’m on there,” said Westhoughton-born Wesselingh, who used to live in Coppull.

“It has been a long time coming, I’ve spent four or five years working hard for this. I do hit a lot of balls and also keep myself fit and hopefully I sort of semi-deserve it.”