Top 10 again for consistent Paul Wesselingh but he just misses out on US Senior Open
A PLACE in the US Senior Open stayed just out of reach for Paul Wesselingh, even though he ended his debut European Senior Tour season with another top-10 finish.
For a brief time, as he birdied three of the first six holes on the third round of MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius to move to nine under par, a second tournament win of the season seemed in his grasp.
But Wesselingh could not maintain that momentum as he fell back to six under and a share of sixth place.
That was his ninth top-10 finish – the most of any player on the Senior Tour – but the Kedleston Park professional needed to earn just over £10,000 more than Australian Peter Fowler, the 2011 Order of Merit winner, to pip him to one of the four US Open places and he could not do that.
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Fowler shot a 68 in the third round to finish second behind winner David Frost and that meant Wesselingh stayed in fifth overall in the list of Tour money-earners this season.
However, that still represented an outstanding campaign for the 51-year-old as he ran away with the Rookie of the Year title.
A one-over-par 73 on the first day in Mauritius, which included a double-bogey six at the 12th and three birdies, did not bode well for Wesselingh's chances of success but all that changed with a scintillating start to the second round.
A run of four birdies in the first five holes – sandwiching a dropped shot at the third – was followed by an eagle three at the par-five sixth as he hit a superb rescue club approach shot to a foot from 220 yards.
Though he gave shots back at the ninth and 16th, Wesselingh produced another run of birdies between the 11th and 13th holes and finished with another – his eighth of the round – on the last for a 65 to move into joint fifth position.
"I'm absolutely delighted with that round," he said. "I really got the putter going. I played OK on the first day but didn't hole much but on the second I hit a lot of greens and I just holed a lot of putts. I only had 23 putts in total.
"I had a couple of loose drives but in general my irons into the green were great.
"I started this week looking at catching Peter but he's playing well so I knew I'd have to have a great week and him not do so well.
"I knew it would be tough, so I was more looking at keeping my position at fifth and I did that."