Tarling and Wettlaufer win cards at EuroSenior Tour Q school

2/2/2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012 - Submitted by Scott Pritchard ~ With notes from Phil Inglis of the European Tour

Three time Canadian Tour winner Rick Gibson has secured full playing privliges for 2012 season on the European Senior Tour. Gibson carded rounds of 68-73-70-71 to finish in a tie for fourth to earn his card.

Gibson, who last played on the Canadian Tour in 2011 at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open, is no stranger to the European Tour. Gibson along with Ray Stewart and Dave Barr won the Dunhill Links Championship in its old format back in 1994. Gibson has also played a number of co-sanctioned events on the Asian Tour.

Dave Wettlaufer, who played the Canadian Tour from 1989 - 1997, had one of the rounds of the day shooting a 3-under-par 68. Wettlaufer's 68 vaulted him 16 spots up the leaderboard to finish in a tie for 10th. To begin the day Wettlaufer was sitting outside the number in terms of obtaining a card but his solid play earned him partial status which could get him to as many as 11 events.

Tarling on the other hand struggled on his final round shooting a 3-over-par 74 and moved him from a tie for 10th into a tie for 14th. Tarling is expected to get into between two and six events.

The European Senior Tour is set to release its schedule on Monday which is expected to include 16 Euro events as well as the US Senior PGA Championship and the US Open.

American Dick Mast carded a four under par round of 67 for the third time in four days to head the 18 players who gained cards for the 2012 European Senior Tour season on a tense final day of the Qualifying School in Portugal.

The 59 year old had started the day with a three stroke lead over Englishman Paul Wesselingh and extended that margin to seven shots with a clinical display at Pestana Golf Resort’s Vale da Pinta, finishing on 14 under par 270.

Wesselingh also secured a card in comfortable fashion, closing with a round of 71 to take second place on seven under par, while American Zeke P Martinez, who began his final round with two birdies and a double bogey, eagled the 16th en route to a 69 as he finished on four under par in third place. English pair Steve Cipa (73) and Jeff Hall (70) and Canadian Rick Gibson (71) shared fourth position on two under par.

All six earned full cards for the 2012 Senior Tour season, with 12 further players securing conditional cards including 2009 Scottish Senior Open champion Glenn Ralph, who carded a closing 73 to share seventh place with Australian Tim Elliott on one under par.

But the day belonged to Mast who followed his two opening rounds of 67 and third round 69 with another impressive performance on the Algarve, to succeed compatriot Tim Thelen as winner of the Senior Tour Qualifying School.

Mast birdied the second and fourth holes but bogeys on the fifth and seventh holes meant his advantage over Wesselingh was reduced to two shots. However the momentum then swung back in Mast’s favour when he holed a crucial 25ft birdie putt on the eighth hole followed by an eight footer on the tenth.

Further birdies on the 16th and 17th holes sealed the victory for Mast, who finished third in The 2006 Senior Open Championship at Turnberry.

“It is a big privilege to get onto the European Senior Tour,” said Mast.  “I’ve not been exempt on the US Champions Tour since 2007 and I’ve always wanted to come over here and play more than I have. I came over in 2006 for The Senior Open for the first time and had a great time at Turnberry and I’m looking forward to coming back and getting to know people over here.

“Hopefully I can play some good golf too. It was my goal to win the Qualifying School but it was a difficult challenge. I tend to be a gambler but I played more percentages over the last couple of days. It worked out for me this week as you can’t force this golf course.

“Paul played extremely well as well so there was some pressure. It’s tough leading for three rounds so I was pleased with how I managed it.”

Mast had led the qualifiers from First Stage at Pestana’s Gramacho course last week and he has now set his sights on continuing that form into the new season.

“I’d like to win a tournament and get some momentum going into The Senior Open Championship back at Turnberry. I’d also like to try to qualify for The Open itself so hopefully this win can be a momentum builder. I’m really looking forward to coming over and seeing Europe.”

The 18 players to gain cards for 2012 came from eight different nations. Aside from the aforementioned top eight, the other players to secure playing privileges were Scotland’s Terry Burgoyne, who finished ninth on level par; Frenchman Roger Sabarros, Canadian Dave Wettlauffer, Japan’s Archie Takamatsu and American Charlie Bolling who all finished one over par; Japan’s Seiki Okuda, American Mike Donald, Jamaican pair Peter Horrobin and Delroy Cambridge and Canadian Ken Tarling, who all finished two over par.
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