Golf: Highlights from MCB Tour Championship 6 December 2011

The MCB Tour Championship gets underway at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius on 9 December. Our golf journalist, Neil Webber is keeping you up-to-date this week with the latest happenings from the Legend and Links golf courses.

Links golf course

Links golf course

Here are highlights from Tuesday 6 December. Find out more from the official website for the MCB Tour Championship

Regular visitors to the Constance Belle Mare Plage may have noticed a number of subtle design changes since they last played the Legend course.

The main alterations are all at par-five holes, namely the sixth, the 13th and the 18th.

The championship tee at the par-five sixth hole has been moved back 20 metres from its original location, with the intention of making it more difficult for the professionals to reach the green in two.

Read more about course changes at the Legend course from the MCB Tour Championship website.

  • Italians take command in Air Mauritius Trophy

It was a great day for Italy in the second round of the Air Mauritius Trophy on the Links course on Tuesday 6 December as players from the country moved into ascendancy in three of the six categories.

Read more about Tuesday’s play in the Air Mauritius Trophy from the MCB Tour Championship website.

  • Forward planning the key to success, says Petch

Behind the scenes with MCB Tour Championship tournament director. Michael Petch appears the kind of guy who wouldn’t break sweat in a sauna nor lose sleep during an earthquake.

He projects the aura of someone totally at ease with life. Whatever inner discomforts there may be, they rarely, if ever, appear on the surface.

But as the MCB Tour Championship tournament director, Mike is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the event proceeds without an obvious hitch. The buck, quite simply, stops with him.

Read more about how Michael Petch makes the tournament such a success on the MCB Tour Championship website.

Golf: Air Mauritius Amateur Tournament – Pollock sets pace

Former South African Test cricketer Shaun Pollock emerged as the early pacesetter in the premier category of the Air Mauritius Amateur Tournament after producing a one-over-par round in the opening round on the Legend course.

Shaun Pollock

Shaun Pollock

Pollock, a scratch handicapper, accumulated 35 Stableford points to head the field in the 0-9 handicap gross section. Closest rival at the start of day two is playing partner Italian Luca Bolla, also a scratch player, who scored 34 points. Completing the leading trio a further point in arrears is Englishman Marcus Ferguson Jones.

Pollock is also in contention for the 0-9 net section, his 35 points putting him one behind joint leaders Roland Espitalier Noel, from Mauritius, who plays off seven, and five-handicap Martino Salvino, from Italy.

In the 10-18 handicap competition, Andrew Rogers, from South Africa, tops the leaderboard in both the net and the gross sections. Rogers shares the honour in the gross competition with the German, Stephen Hurst, after both players returned scores of 24 points, two more than Gerard De Sigoyer, from Reunion Island.

However, 17-handicap Rogers has a healthy three-point lead in the 10-18 net event after the day’s best score of 38 points, three better than nearest rival, Englishman Derrick Bloy, who plays off 15. There is then a gap of two points to the next two players, Stephen Hurst (h12) and Frenchman Pascal Delgrange (h18).

Ladies’ competitions

Meanwhile, Valerie Raffray from Mauritius has earned herself a position of prominence in both the Ladies’ gross and net competitions after an impressive opening round performance. In the gross section she returned a total of 32 points, which put her alongside Guiliana Colavito (Italy), a commanding six points ahead of another Mauritian, third-placed Denise Haarhoff. But it is Haarhoff, playing off 14, who sets the pace in the net section on 38 points,. That is a point more than Marie-Yvonne Mamet (h18), from Mauritius, with Raffray only a point back in third spot with 36.

Highlights and scores

For more highlights and scores, visit the MCB Tour Championship website.

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.

Special offer: Green fees free of charge at Mauritius Links and Legend golf courses in 2012

Links golf course

Links golf course

Experienced and novice golfers can enjoy this fabulous offer during 2012.

Green fees at both the Links and Legend golf courses are free of charge to all guests of Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius from 1 January – 31 December 2012.

Club cars at the Links golf course are also free of charge to residents of both resorts throughout 2012.

Constance championship golf courses

Constance Hotels Experience has 3 championship golf courses in the Indian Ocean – 2 in Mauritius and 1 in the Seychelles.

Each 18-hole golf course is a real challenge for professional and amateur golfers alike, recognised by the PGA and various other federations.

The 2 courses in Mauritius were conceived to host international golf tournaments. Since December 2009, the Legend and the Links golf courses have hosted one of the tournaments on the European Senior Tour calendar – the MCB Tour Championship.

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.