Colin Montogmerie’s Open victory takes him one step closer to Mauritius

The European Senior Golf Tour is hotting up as Colin Montgomerie wins his second Major of the season at the US Senior Open Championship.

Will Colin Montogmerie be gracing the Legend this December?

Will Colin Montogmerie be gracing the Legend this December?

The win puts Montogmerie at the head of the order of merit and in a good position to play for the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius this December.

The Tour Championship will be held at Constance Belle Mare Plage from December 12–14. A recent agreement between the Senior Tour, Constance and sponsor Mauritius Commercial Bank guaranteed that the MCB Championship will be hosted by Constance Belle Mare Plage until at least 2017.

Montgomerie is no stranger to the Legend course at Belle Mare Plage having battled last year’s MCB Champion Paul Wesselingh on the course in the final round of the championship last year.

Former Ryder Cup Captain, Montgomerie won the US Senior Open in Oklahoma following a dramatic play-off against Gene Sauers.

Get full details of the US Senior Open Championship and all the latest European Senior Tour news on the European Senior Tour website.

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MCB Championship to return to legendary golf course at Belle Mare Plage

This year’s European Senior Tour will once again be decided on the greens and fairways of the Legend golf course at Constance Belle Mare Plage in December.

The Legend - The training ground for the Marc Farry Golf Academy

The Legend, home of the MCB Tour Championship

Last year’s MCB Tour Championship culminated in an epic final round between golf legend Colin Montgomerie and Englishman Paul Wesselingh who went on to win not just the MCB Tour Championship but the Order of Merit as well.

This year’s event, to be held on 8-14 December, is expected to be just as exciting with Colin Montgomerie and Tom Watson currently topping the Order of Merit.

Guests staying at Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice during the tournament will be perfectly placed to enjoy all the action.

Play with the pros

Keen golfers can even get involved with a two-day pro-am tournament on 10 & 11 December when guests at Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice can play in teams with a selection of senior professional golfers across the two championship golf courses.

Entry forms can be downloaded from our website now.

Improve your game

Watch how the likes of Colin Montgomerie and David Frost do it and then take a lesson at our Marc Farry Golf Academy and learn to swing like a pro.

Watch all the action in 5* luxury

As well as access to all the championship action on the golf course guests can enjoy Constance luxury with 5* service, elegant, spacious accommodation, fine-dining restaurants and sumptuous spas.

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Constance Hotels golf courses recognised in new MCB Championship deal

Constance Belle Mare Plage will continue to host the thrilling MCB Championship, the finale to the European Senior Tour, for a further three years.

Luxury golf holidays at Constance

Luxury golf holidays at Constance

The announcement follows a renewal agreement between event partners Constance Hotels & Resorts, the European Senior Tour and sponsor Mauritius Commercial Bank.

The MCB Championship has been held on Constance’s Legend golf course for the last four years.

It is a testament to the high quality design and maintenance of the course that the Europe Senior Tour has chosen to retain it as the stage for the final leg of their annual tour where the John Jacobs Trophy is awarded to the Tour leader.

Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, Andy Stubbs, said, ‘The idyllic island setting of Mauritius is the perfect place for the Senior Tour to bring our season to a close, and the hospitality shown to us by the Constance Group, at their hotels Le Prince Maurice and Belle Mare Plage, has ensured the strongest possible fields over the past three years.’

He continued, ‘The Legend Course is a great examination for the leading Senior Tour players and has ensured that the contest for the John Jacobs Trophy comes to a fitting finale.’

The event has in recent years included golfing legends such as Tom Lehman, Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and David Frost.

Jean-Jacques Vallet, CEO of Constance, said, ‘Our promise is not only to continue raising the level of the quality of Constance Hotels & Resorts’ golf courses and accommodation, but also to do our best to be the perfect ambassador of golf and inevitably boost the country’s image as a premier golf destination.’

This year’s MCB Tour Championship will take place at Constance Belle Mare Plage from 12-14 December.

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Throwing off the fear of winning

Oscar Wilde wrote, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.”

The stage is set for the MCB Tour Championship 2013

The stage is set for the MCB Tour Championship 2013

It’s an adage the finest players on the European Senior Tour may not be aware of, but might ponder because they are all aware that late in their career they are being rewarded on the course for the many years of hard work that has gone before.

When I asked Colin Montgomerie to determine the difference between his prime and today he was open and forthright, although initially he joked: “Hang on, I’ve forgotten the question … that’s not a good sign, is it?”

More seriously he added, “I think we all relax more. I’m definitely more relaxed now than I’ve ever been. We’ve all been successful and have nothing to prove, so we relax and enjoy it. And you know what? You tend to do something better if you enjoy it.”

Of course Montgomerie had a stunning career which needs little polishing on the senior tours. He won 31 times on the European Tour (only three men have won more), represented Europe eight times in the Ryder Cup and won it as captain in 2010.

He nods when I ask him to discuss about the narrow margin between victory and close defeat.

“It’s a good question and one I have recent experience of at the AT&T Championship in San Antonio.

“What we, as golfers, all have to accept is that you lose a lot more than you win. If you win three times in a year that’s a great year, but you might have played 30 times so you lose quite a bit.

“At senior level I’ve seen a lot less fear of winning and yet there was a fear of winning on the main tour. No-one throws it away out here – we think: ‘We might as well just go and do it.’

“So the standard of play is very high because of that mentality. You can’t rely on others to make bogies, you’ve got to keep making birdies.”

The Legend, Constance Belle Mare Plage

The Legend, Constance Belle Mare Plage

“That’s what happened in San Antonio – I was two ahead with nine to play, played the back nine in level par and was overtaken by two men. Level par on these events is not good enough and it usually was on the main tour.”

David Frost understood Montgomerie’s point: “Definitely the players have lost that fear. I lost out to Russ Cochran recently – I had a lead with four holes to play, he birdied the last four holes and beat me by one shot!

“I also think that we don’t try so many things. When you’re young you try everything and it’s probably too much. When you get here, you use what got you here.”

Denmark’s Steen Tinning agrees: “You stop trying to be a world champion and you understand your limits.

“And once you are in the zone you keep going on the back nine. But it’s a long process which some of us just had to go through that. It takes a lot of years to gain that experience and I needed that time. Now I have it and I felt comfortable in contention this year.”

The stats back the Dane’s claims up – twice this year he held the lead with 18 holes to play and twice he converted the win.

Like the Montgomerie family, the Tinnings are enjoying the beach and all the facilities at Constance Belle Mare Plage this week. Both are hoping to put their lack of fear into practice if they are in contention come the final round on Sunday.

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How the top golfers have played in the European Senior Tour season so far

Players have been arriving at Constance Belle Mare Plage over the last few days, in readiness for the conclusion of the 2013 European Senior Tour season.

The MCB Tour Championship, which is staged at the resort’s Legends GC, will be the 16th event of the year. Here’s the story of the Road to Mauritius:

The headliner is England’s Paul Wesselingh, who was Rookie of the Year in 2012, and currently leads the Order of Merit after three stunning victories in his second year. He started off with a five-shot win in the ISPS HANDA PGA Seniors Championship in June, added the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in July and snatched top spot in the money list with victory in last month’s Fubon Senior Open in Taiwan.

Fellow Englishman Simon P Brown has bagged two wins. His first, the Russian Open Senior Golf Championship, came after he recorded a bogey, double bogey and three birdies in a wild final five holes. If that win was rollercoaster-like, his second was an armchair ride, with the final day of the Dutch Senior Open being washed out and Brown crowned champion watching the rain fall in the clubhouse.

Steen Tinning leads Brown in the race to become Rookie of the Year, following victories in the Berenberg Masters in Koln (when he broke the hearts of the locals to defeat Bernhard Langer) and the English Senior Open. The Dane has also competed in this year’s European Ironman Championship, proving the adage that you’re only as old as you feel.

Poolside tee off - Colin Montgomerie entertains the crowds at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Poolside tee off – Colin Montgomerie entertains the crowds at Constance Belle Mare Plage

The majors have been a curious affair. American Kenny Perry made a habit of throwing away major championship wins on the main tour and did so again in May’s US Senior PGA Championship. That allowed the wonderfully named Kohki Idoki to become Japan’s first ever winner of a male major championship.

Perry made amends in June, claiming the US Senior Open Championship, before the Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex witnessed the most remarkable finish of the year. Unheralded American Mark Wiebe defeated Bernhard Langer in a bizarre play-off at Royal Birkdale which started in the dark, was halted in pitch dark and was concluded early next morning.

Of all those mentioned above only Wesselingh had previously claimed victory on this tour and the pattern of maiden winners continued all year. England’s Philip Golding denied home favourite Ian Woosnam in the Speedy Services Wales Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl (host of next year’s Senior Open) and Spain’s Santiago Luna, who once famously defeated Tiger Woods at St Andrews, returned to the old town and left with the SSE Scottish Senior Open trophy.

But the most noteworthy of all was Colin Montgomerie’s first senior win in the Travis Perkins plc Senior Open. Playing on one of his favourite courses, the Duke’s at Woburn, he cruised to a six-shot victory.

There were comeback wins for Gordon Brand Jr in the WINSTONgolf Senior Open (his first for three years) and Australian Peter Fowler in the French Riviera Masters (who hadn’t won since claiming the 2011 Order of Merit).

To launch the week the leading performers hit balls from the poolside at Belle Mare Plage towards the island out at sea. Colin Montgomerie entertained the assembled crowd and they’re hoping he’ll be doing the same in the main event which starts on Friday. Follow #MCBGolf on social media to find out more.

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Brown is singing in the rain after Dutch Senior Open victory

Simon P Brown has won his second European Senior Tour title in adverse weather conditions at the Dutch Senior Open.

Simon P Brown

Simon P Brown (Getty images)

Torrential rain on the first day of play and over night on the second at the International in Amsterdam led to the tournament being halted, granting the English-born Brown victory after only two days play.

This is Brown’s first season in the European Senior Tour. The victory puts him fourth in the Order of Merit which could secure him a place in the top six at the end of the Tour, earning him an exemption to all the Senior Majors of 2014.

With just one event to go before the MCB Championship, held in Mauritius at Constance Belle Mare Plage in December, Steen Tinning still has his eye on the Jacobs Trophy, leading the Order of Merit by just under €10,000 ahead of the nearest contender Paul Wesselingh.

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