Wiebe ‘speechless’ after dramatic Senior Open Championship win

In the longest playoff in the history of the Senior Open Championship, US golfer Mark Wiebe won his first title at Royal Birkdale on Monday morning.

The Links, Constance Belle Mare Plage

The Links, Constance Belle Mare Plage

He beat German Bernhard Langer, a two-time Masters champion, at the fifth extra hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Wiebe, the eighth American winner, said he was “speechless”, continuing: “I just was luckier today and last night than Bernie I guess. I also feel like Bernie has won, what, a couple hundred tournaments. He’s won so many, I feel like this was my turn.”

David Frost, winner of MCB Tour Championship 2012, also played well and finished 3rd in the tournament.

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David Frost wins MCB Tour Championship 2012

South African David Frost completed his expected victory in the 2012 MCB Tour Championship but it took a birdie at the final hole to repulse the determined challenge of his rivals for the crown, Australian Peter Fowler and England’s Barry Lane.

David Frost wins MCB Tour Championship

David Frost wins MCB Tour Championship

A strangely inconsistent performance from the 53-year-old allowed Fowler to draw level with Frost after the 14th hole of the final round and an eagle three for Lane at the 18th hole took him to 10-under-par also, alongside Frost.

However, Frost’s two-putt birdie denied his rivals the opportunity of a play-off.

Find out the final scores, and more championship news from the Legend and Links golf courses on the MCB Tour Championship website.

Catch me if you can, says runaway leader David Frost

David Frost will take a four-shot lead into Sunday’s final round of the MCB Tour Championship after another efficient performance in the second round on the Constance Belle Mare Plage Legend course.

David Frost

David Frost

And with the 53-year-old South African in such ruthless form, the question being asked is can anyone catch him?

After opening with an eight-under-par 64 to lead compatriot Steve Van Vuuren by three strokes, Frost extended his lead with a competent five-under 67.

‘I hit a lot of good shots out there today,’ he said. ‘I really played well. I missed a couple of short putts but made some long ones, so it all evens itself out.’

That is not something his playing partners, American Tim Thelen and England’s Barry Lanewill want to hear.

They will have a close view of his game but that may not provide any inspiration, given the form he is in.

As Frost’s fellow countryman Van Vuuren fell away on the second day with a disappointing 73, it was Thelen who emerged as the closest rival.

He made three birdies and an eagle to match Frost’s 67 but lost the chance of a crucial birdie, or better, at the 18th when his pulled drive struck a tree and he had to settle for a par.

That said, Thelen is looking forward to the final round.

‘They are two great players and two great gentlemen,’ he said. ‘All I can do is play the best I can and see what happens.’

Lane starts the final round five strokes off the pace after a 66 that contained seven birdies in the final 13 holes.

He dropped a shot at the fourth but then his putter began to warm up and  he closed his round in impressive fashion.

One stroke back on seven under after a superb 68 is the phenomenon known as Jerry Bruner.  The veteran American made five birdies after a dropped shot at the fourth to lead the penultimate group that includes Rookie-of-the-Year Paul Wesselingh and last year’s order-of-merit champion Peter Fowler.

Englishman Wesselingh carded the day’s best score, a colourful seven-under 65 that included an eagle, at the par-five sixth, eight birdies and three bogeys.

Read more about Frost taking the lead on Day 1 of the MCB Tour Championship, or catch up on all the latest news from the event on the MCB Tour Championship website.

 

Birdie man Frost gets away to flying start at MCB

The MCB Tour Championship could be in danger of becoming a procession if South African David Frost produces another round of golf like his opener on the Belle Mare Plage Legend course today.

David Frost at MCB Tour Championship, Mauritius

David Frost

Frost, who was runner-up in the tournament to Tom Lehman 12 months ago and had won the MCB Senior Open over the same course in 2010, was on supreme form, making nine birdies on his way to a magnificent eight-under-par 64.

The 53-year-old who spends most of his time on the US Champions Tour, had only one blemish on his card as he built up a three-stroke lead to take into the second day. That was at the tricky par-four 12th, where he pulled his approach to the left of the green and failed to get up and down.

Otherwise, it was Frost at his most confident as he birdied four of the first six holes, added another at the eighth, picked up three more in a row from the 13th and rounded the performance off with birdie number nine at the 18th.

‘I am very happy with that,’ he said. ‘I made some nice putts and I got lucky with one from 35 feet at the third. Otherwise I hit the ball close and made the putts.

The Legend golf course

‘The greens are in fabulous condition and that made putting enjoyable. The course has improved a lot over the last two years and there is not so much grain on the greens as in the past. But ‘it’s never over until it’s over and I’ve played enough to know you can’t take anything for granted in this game.

Constance Legend golf course, Mauritius

Constance Legend golf course

‘Tom had a great start last year but I managed to catch him and had a chance to tie him on the last hole, and I came back against Roger Chapman and won in a play-off in 2010. I had been leading before that but then Roger put pressure on me.

‘That’s how the game can affect you. It’s a good start but I have to keep playing and stick to my game plan.”

Steve Van Vuuren in second spot

Another South African starts the second day tomorrow, Saturday 8 December, in second spot. Steve Van Vuuren signed for a five-under-par 67 that included six birdies and he said it was the change to a belly putter that had made the difference to his game. Van Vuuren followed the advice of Ian Woosnam and tried the putter out for the first time in the South African Senior Masters and promptly took the title.

‘I switched to a belly putter last week. It was the first time I had tried it and it worked nicely again today.’

Tim Thelen in 3rd

American Tim Thelen lies one stroke back in third place, despite being less than comfortable throughout most of his round of 68.
‘I’m pleased with my score. I putted well, otherwise I would not have had a 68,’ said the three-times 2012 winner who had a mixed card of seven birdies and three bogies.

‘I couldn’t find my swing for the first nine holes and it wasn’t until the 15th that it suddenly felt good and I finished much better with birdies at 17 and 18. If I can start that way in the morning I’ll be a lot happier.’

Popular American Jerry Bruner sent out a reminder that there is still life in the old dog yet with a creditable three-under-par 69 to share fourth place with Australian Peter Fowler and Englishmen George Ryall and John Gould.

Tough start for Lehman and Chapman

But there were disappointing starts for favourite Tom Lehman and double Major winner Roger Chapman. There were five birdies for Chapman but an ugly double-bogey at the 12th spoiled a promising card and he finished at two-under, level with Barry Lane who is aiming to consolidate his position in second place in the order-of-merit.

And defending champion Lehman had a difficult time on the greens, relying on a final-hole birdie to finish with a one-under-par 71.

‘I didn’t putt well. It was as simple as that. I was playing pretty well, except for hitting a bad three-iron at 16, but all the other
bogies were three-putts. I found the greens faster than last year and it was difficult for me. But I won with a 71 in the last round a year ago so there’s a glimmer of hope.’

Catch up with all the news from the championship on the MCB Tour Championship website.

European Senior Tour finale underway in Mauritius

The curtain comes down on the 2012 European Senior Tour campaign this week, with Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius hosting the season-ending MCB Tour Championship.

David Frost

David Frost

Catch up with what’s happened so far:

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Tom Lehman sounds a warning to MCB Tour Championship hopefuls

Tom Lehman has just ensured that there will be some sleepless nights among his challengers for the MCB Tour Championship next month as they strive to discover a way of overcoming him.

Lehman wins Charles Schwab Cup Championship

Tom Lehman

Tom Lehman

On his first visit to Mauritius a year ago, Lehman emerged victorious on the Legend course at the Constance Belle Mare Plage and he will arrive back on the island in arguably the best form of his life after destroying a quality field in the USPGA Champions Tour finale, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, this weekend.

The tournament, just held on 1-4 November 2012 at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, is the American equivalent of the MCB Tour Championship.

The 53 year old Lehman left the likes of Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Jay Haas, Fred Funk, David Frost and Corey Pavin chasing his shadow with a final round five-under-par 65 that left him with a six-stroke advantage at the close.

The $440,000 that Lehman picked up for a thoroughly clinical performance secured his place at the top of the Champions Tour order-of-merit for the second year in succession, making him the first player in the Tour’s history to achieve the feat.

Englishman Roger Chapman, winner of two Senior Majors this year, finished a highly creditable fourth in the season’s rankings after a disappointing final day at Scottsdale.

But it was Lehman who occupied centre stage in the latter part of the tournament. He trailed on the first 2 days after his rounds of 68 and 62 were eclipsed by the 66 and 60 of Jay Haas. But the man from Minnesota began to exert his authority in round 3 with a 63 and started the last day a shot ahead of Couples and two in front of Haas.

That was as close as anyone got to Lehman in the final round as he strode majestically to victory.

In the process, he served notice of intent to anyone good enough or brave enough to take him on in Mauritius. Now there’s an invitation.

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