Golf MCB Tour Championship: Frost confident ahead of Mauritius return

South African David Frost is relishing his return to Mauritius on the European Senior Tour for the 2011 season-ending MCB Tour Championship following a dramatic conclusion to his last visit to the sunshine island.

David Frost

David Frost

Frost began his 2011 campaign by defeating Englishman Roger Chapman on the second extra hole to win the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open last December, recovering from losing a four stroke lead to force a play-off with a spectacular eagle on the final hole.

Senior Tour season finale

The 52 year old returns to the magnificent Constance Belle Mare Plage from December 9-11, with the tournament taking on a new title as the Senior Tour season finale following a new four-year agreement with title sponsor Mauritius Commercial Bank.

Frost has an impressive record at Constance Belle Mare Plage, finishing tied fifth on his Senior Tour debut in 2010 before capturing his maiden Senior Tour title last year and he is eager to continue his fine run next month.

‘I feel confident returning to Belle Mare Plage,’ said Frost. ‘I have made quite a few friends amongst the Pro-Am participants over the past two years and I am looking forward to seeing them too.

Highlights of 2011

‘After not winning in Mauritius in 2010 I felt like I needed to win it in 2011, so the pressure was on me. Especially having a four shot lead over Roger entering the last round I should have won easily, but golf is funny game, a couple of shots swing can cause the leading player to go one way and the challenger can get close in a hole or two, and that is what happened . Winning the title in 2011 was sweet revenge for missing out in 2010.’

Legend golf course

Legend golf course

The two-time European Tour winner finished sixth in The Senior Open Championship at Walton Heath in July but his eagle on the 54th hole over Constance Belle Mare Plage’s Legends Course remains the highlight of his season. Having surrendered a four stroke lead to Chapman, Frost found himself two shots behind playing the last and knew he had to produce something special.

He did just that with a brilliant drive followed by a sublime three iron to 15 feet which he rolled in for an eagle three to match Chapman’s 13 under total. Frost then pounced on the second extra hole when Chapman, who had carded a stunning 65 in regulation play, made his only error of the final day, tugging his drive into the deep rough and failing to recover.

‘Starting with a four stroke advantage in the final round was a nice position to be in but Roger played really great and should have won,’ Frost admitted. ‘My aggressive play on the last hole paid off when I tried to eagle the hole to tie him. I think I would have done the same as what Roger did.

‘Had I been leading the event with one hole to play I would have played it as a par five and laid up short on the tee shot. Unfortunately for him I made the eagle to send us both into a play-off.

Legends golf course at Belle Mare Plage

‘The Legends course has some great, challenging tee shots and under the pressure you need to hit the fairways. From there it is target golf to the pins as well. The greens are a little tricky with the Bermuda grass, so you need to read the grain well.

‘I’m really looking forward to returning to Belle Mare Plage and I have decided to stay on another 4 days after the tournament to relax and enjoy some days without waking up and worrying what time I am on the tee.’

Competition for the title

One of Frost’s rivals for the MCB Tour Championship title is expected to be American Tom Lehman, who defeated him in a play-off to win the 2010 US Senior PGA Championship. Former Open Champion and Ryder Cup Captain Lehman won the Money List on the US Champions Tour this year and will be looking to round off a fine 2011 season in style in Mauritius.

In addition to the battle for the title itself, the focus will also be on the contest between the leading two players on the Senior Tour Order of Merit, Peter Fowler and Barry Lane, who are bidding to win the John Jacobs Trophy.

Fowler will take a €25,569 advantage into the final event of the season but with a prize fund of €400,000 and winner’s cheque of €60,000 on offer, Lane has every chance of overturning that lead and succeeding Boonchu Ruangkit as Senior Tour Number One.

Golf MCB Tour Championship: John Jacobs Trophy contenders in complimentary mood

Opening press conference for MCB Tour Championship

Opening press conference for MCB Tour Championship

The compliments came thick and fast at Monday’s press conference on the Constance Belle Mare Plage Legend course to launch the inaugural MCB Tour Championship.

Among those in attendance were Australian Peter Fowler, who leads the Senior Tour order-of-merit, and Englishman Barry Lane, his only rival for the John Jacobs Trophy that is awarded to the season’s top money-winner.

Just over €25,500 separates the two men in the contest for Senior Tour supremacy and with €61,000 on offer to the winner, the contest could well go all the way to the final round.

Read more on the MCB Tour Championship website.

Golf: John Jacobs' Trophy battle going to the wire

18th hole at Legend golf course

18th at the Legend golf course

Following Chien Soon Lu’s victory in the Fubon Senior Open, the stage is set for another thrilling climax to the European Senior Tour season at the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius from 9-11 December at the Legend golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage.

Peter Fowler and Barry Lane battle for trophy

All eyes will be on the battle for the John Jacobs’ Trophy between Peter Fowler and Barry Lane.
 
Australian Fowler captured the ISPS Handa Senior Masters presented by The Stapleford Forum in June and the following month’s Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in Switzerland.

Lane successfully defended his Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open title in August, then finished second at the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters at the start of September, and won again the next week in the Czech Republic at the Casa Serena Open.

After a campaign lasting 13 months and 21 tournaments, the season will reach a dramatic finale in Mauritius in December.

History of the John Jacobs’ Trophy

John Jacobs and Sam Torrance in 2009
John Jacobs and Sam Torrance in 2009

As the Senior Tour celebrates its 20th anniversary season, the contest between the 2 former European Tour champions is a fitting tribute to the growth in stature and popularity that the Tour has seen since its inception in 1992, as both men vie to hoist their first John Jacobs’ Trophy.

First awarded in 1993, the Senior Tour Order of Merit trophy became the John Jacobs’ Trophy – a name synonymous with European golf, the founding father of The European Tour, Ryder Cup legend and world-renowned teacher.

Jacobs was the Tour’s trail-blazing first Tournament Director-General and his name commands the respect and gratitude of anyone involved in the game.

Daily news from MCB Tour Championship

Don’t miss the MCB Tour Championship, 9-11 December website where we’ll be posting daily articles during the event.

And catch up on the latest news on the players entering this year’s event:

Golf: MCB Tour Championship – Mark Mouland

Welshman Mark Mouland has some unfinished business to attend to in December when he makes a nostalgic return visit to Mauritius for the MCB Tour Championship from 9-11 December.

Mark Mouland

Mark Mouland

Mouland’s success so far

In this, his first season on the European Senior Tour, Mouland has made quite an impression, registering a maiden victory in Portugal and securing a top 20 order-of-merit ranking with winnings of over €100,000.

Mouland’s appearances in Europe were restricted by his visits to the US Champions Tour, where he gained a limited number of entries through the 2010 Qualifying School.

When he revisited the US Tour School earlier in November, Mouland claimed 9th place, after a play-off, to secure a conditional exemption in 2012.

Now his attention is focused on Mauritius, where he will be a man on a mission. His intention is to become the first man to win 3 professional tournaments on the island.

Earlier wins in the Mauritius Open

It was in 2003 that the Welshman became the first pro to register back-to-back triumphs in the Mauritius Open, the forerunner of the MCB Open. The following year he finished 5th behind Englishman Miles Tunnicliff, after which he was unable to return – until now.

Mouland rates his chances this year

Legend golf course

18th at the Legend

‘I’m really looking forward to going back to Mauritius,’ he said. ‘I love the place, the ambience, the atmosphere, the golf course and the whole set-up.’

Mouland added: ‘It has been great to be back on tour. I was so looking forward to joining the Senior Tour that I couldn’t wait to turn 50. It’s been an absolute ball. It is far more relaxed than the main Tour, with an easygoing atmosphere and a lot of camaraderie.’

Mouland’s experience and success over the Constance Belle Mare Plage Legend layout is certain to stand him in good stead for the tournament. He knows what it takes to be successful over the tricky Hugh Baiocchi-designed layout.

‘It would be wonderful if I managed to win the MCB Tour Championship, not only for the title but to complete a three-timer on Mauritius, something no-one else has done.

‘That would please me immensely. But there are some exceptional players in the field so we will just have to see what happens.’

Catch up on earlier articles about the MCB Tour Championship

And don’t miss the official MCB Tour Championship website where we’ll be posting daily articles during the event.

Article written by Neil Webber, golf journalist.

Golf: MCB Senior Tour Championship 2011

The countdown to this year’s season-ending European Senior Tour Championship in Mauritius is well under way. Constance Belle Mare Plage is preparing to add another chapter to its distinguished history.

Legend at Belle Mare Plage

Legend at Belle Mare Plage

The 54-hole MCB Senior Tour Championship takes place from 9-11 December 2011. It provides the climax to a week-long programme of golf competition that includes a pro-am and a number of amateur tournaments.

Who’ll be playing this year?

The closing date for entry to the tournament is late November. Among those who have already confirmed their attendance are:

  • David Frost – last year’s MCB Open champion
  • Roger Chapman – runner-up
  • Peter Fowler – current European Senior Tour order-of-merit leader
  • Mike Cunning – the winner of the 2010 Tour Championship
  • Sam Torrance – successful Ryder Cup player and captain
  • Carl Mason – the Senior Tour’s leading career earner
  • Boonchu Ruangkit – last season’s order-of-merit winner
  • Kevin Sturgeon – 2009 MCB Open champion.

In addition, Welshman Mark Mouland, a recent winner in Portugal in his first year on the Senior Tour, will be relishing a return to the Legend course where, in 2002 and 2003, he won the Mauritius Open in its original format as an end-of-year invitation event.

History of the event

Legend golf course

Legend golf course

It’s just 2 years since Constance Hotels Experience and the Mauritius Commercial Bank joined forces to stage the first of 2 hugely successful Senior Tour events on the Belle Mare Plage Legend golf course.

This year, the partnership is hosting the lucrative MCB Senior Tour Championship - the season’s finale. Entry is restricted to the leading earners on this year’s European Senior Tour and past winners of a major or seniors’ major.

Adding extra interest this year will be the presentation of the prestigious John Jacobs Trophy to the player who finishes top of the Senior Tour order-of-merit.

Twelve months ago that honour went to Boonchu Ruangkit from Thailand, but this year’s recipient may not be decided until the final putt has been sunk in the Tour Championship.

The Legend

The Legend

Not that the Legend course is any stranger to final round drama. It has a long history of producing the unexpected, as Roger Chapman, Welshman Phillip Price and a number of other players will testify.

Results and news from the tournament

During the event, we’ll be posting up-to-the-minute news on this blog and the Constance Facebook page.

Results, reports and features will also appear each day on the official MCB Tour Championship website.

Article written by Neil Webber, golf journalist.