Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Paul Defies All Odds to Lift Seniors Title

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Paul Defies All Odds to Lift Seniors Title

Article excerpt

Byline: Tim Taylo r

AFITTING end to the week of the Royal Jubilee saw a Dunkirk spirit everywhere at De Vere Slaley Hall yesterday. For 33-1 outsider Paul Wesselingh closed out with a late barrage of birdies to win the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship by one shot.

Recently turned 50, Wesselingh played his first senior tour event only a month ago but his name goes on a roll call of winners which includes Peter Thompson, five times a winner of The Open Championship. The further the club pro from Derby got into his speech at the presentation, the more emotional he became and although he did not actually shed tears, it was clear from his voice it was touch and go. He had started by thanking another hero of the tournament, Steve Cram, in charge of Slaley's team of greenkeepers who somehow got the tournament completed despite 75 millimetres of rain saturating the Hunting course in five days.

The total for June is usually 71 millimetres and the event was played to a finish not only because it was reduced from four rounds to three, but also thanks to some true Brit grit.

"Steve and his team were fantastic," said Wesselingh. "We would not have got through without them. The work they did was incredible."

Players were held up while greens were squeegeed - one group waited half an hour on one occasion and took five hours and 40 minutes to complete their round - which told part of the story.

Cram had ten fulltimers, two parttimers and three other helpers brought in from other De Vere Club venues involved.

The PGA and the Seniors Tour added a further six to the task force with even referees joining in the mop-up operation.

"Steve and his team were absolutely tireless," said tournament director Ben Groutage. "One day they were going flat out full tilt from 4am to 6.30pm and they would have cut the greens after that if it had not been too wet. …

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