Golf MCB Tour Championship: Chapman desperate to go all the way this time

A couple of beers and a few glasses of wine was all that was needed to put life back on track for Roger Chapman after suffering the disappointment of having the MCB Seniors Open cruelly snatched from his grasp 12 months ago.

The 2010 Championship

Roger Chapman

Roger Chapman

After 17 holes of near-impeccable golf in the final round on the Legend course, the 52-year-old Englishman had all but won the tournament.

Seven birdies and 10 pars had turned a four-stroke deficit to overnight leader David Frost into a two-shot advantage as the 2 men arrived at the 54th and closing hole.

Chapman opted to do what any other player in his position would have done, which was to make par, leaving his South African rival the prospect of manufacturing an unlikely eagle to force a play-off.

The Englishman played his role to perfection. Unfortunately for him, Frost ignored the script, striking 2 magnificent blows and holing a 30-foot putt to take the title battle into extra holes.

The first of these, back along the 18th, ended with a pair of birdie fours but, playing the hole yet again, Chapman’s wayward drive into deep undergrowth opened the door for Frost, who needed no second bidding. For luckless Chapman it was yet another runners-up prize to add to so many he has accumulated over a professional career spanning 30 years.

Despite the disappointment, it took only a few moments for Chapman to compose himself before, in typically sporting fashion, he commented: ‘Fair play to Frosty. He did precisely what was needed and he’s a worthy winner.’

That evening, following the presentations, Chapman and wife Cathy were invited by Frost to join his table for dinner. ‘There were eight of us and it was a really good evening,’ he reflected. ‘We had a few drinks and before the end, the scars had healed.’

Highlights of 2011

Chapman arrives in Mauritius after a satisfactory season on the European Tour where he is 10th in the order-of-merit.

‘I played 10 events on the US Champions Tour in the first part of the year and only joined the Senior Tour in August,’ he said. ‘But I started with three top 10 placings in a row – a second, a third and a sixth. It would have been nice to have won but that’s the way it goes.’

Return to Belle Mare Plage

Legend golf course

Legend golf course

Chapman has been relishing his return to the Belle Mare Plage:

‘I like the Legend course,’ he says. ‘What Marc Farry and the sponsors have done to turn a relatively minor end-of-year event, albeit a thoroughly enjoyable one, into a top championship tournament is remarkable.

‘It is a perfect venue. You cannot fault the organisation and nothing is too much trouble for the management and the staff. The place is simply top class.’

The MCB Tour Championship offers Chapman a chance to go one better than last year and to end the season with a much sought-after victory.

‘I admit that I am desperate to win,’ he said. But he acknowledges that the challenge could hardly be tougher:

‘This must be the strongest field ever to be assembled on the island,’ he said. ‘The presence of Tom Lehman adds great value to the tournament and it will be interesting to see how he fares. To be honest, almost anyone in the field is capable of winning. If you play well and get into the competition early on, you can put yourself in the running.

‘But if you open with a 73 or 74 while others are posting 67s or 68s or better, it is going to be mighty difficult to get back into contention.’

Article written by Neil Webber, golf journalist

Major winner Tom Lehman to join MCB Tour title contest

Former Major Champion and Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman will join a star-studded cast in Mauritius when he makes a welcome appearance on the European Senior Tour for the 2011 season-ending event, the MCB Tour Championship from 9-11 December.

Tom Lehman

Tom Lehman

American Tom Lehman is the highest profile entry for this year’s MCB Senior Tour Championship at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius.

Lehman said, ‘I have always wanted to go to Mauritius and getting this opportunity is something that I am looking forward to with much excitement and anticipation.

I can’t think of a better way to finish the 2011 season than by competing in the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius.’

The 52-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, will be the first winner of the British Open Championship to appear in what has been the most prestigious professional tournament on Mauritius for the last 18 years.

Constance Belle Mare Plage attracts top players

Over the years, Belle Mare Plage has played host to a number of promising young golfers who have gone on to make their mark at the highest level.

Legend golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage

Legend golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage

Players such as Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Gregory Havret and Jamie Donaldson – the last winner of the original Mauritius Open – have all experienced the delights and the frustrations that the unique Legend course can deliver.

In 2009, when the European Senior Tour arrived on the island, it was the turn of more established names in the world of golf – the likes of Sam Torrance, David Frost, Costantino Rocca, Jose Rivero and Manuel Pinero – to take centre stage.

But Tom Lehman will be the biggest winner to have visited Mauritius in the tournament’s history.

Lehman will undoubtedly start as favourite for the MCB Tour Championship, but with most of the top 60 Seniors Tour order-of-merit competing, plus defending Tour champion Mike Cunning, Lehman is certain to find the rivalry intense.

Find out more about the MCB Tour Championship

  • Watch this space for more information about the tournament, and don’t miss our daily blog posts during the championship – keeping you up-to-date with all the latest action.
  • If you missed our previous article, find out who else is playing this year at the 2011 MCB Tour Championship
  • Visit the official MCB Tour Championship website.

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.