Golf: Highlights from MCB Tour Championship 8 December 2011

The MCB Tour Championship 2011 continues at Constance Belle Mare Plage this week, 5-11 December.

Tom Lehman

Tom Lehman

Here are the latest highlights from Mauritius, delivered straight from the Legend and Links golf courses by golf journalist, Neil Webber.

Tom Lehman, the most celebrated player to have competed in a professional event on Mauritius, and the Australian Peter Fowler have both given their stamp of approval to the Legend course, over which this weekend’s drama will be enacted.

Read more on the MCB Tour Championship website.

In an exciting final day of the 36-hole competition in which one round is played on both the Legend and Links courses, the all-lady team of Odie Fat Lim, Aline Wong and Marguerite Kan Wah clung on to the lead they established in the opening round of the net category to emerge winners by a single point.

Read more on the MCB Tour Championship website.

Australian Mike Harwood has guaranteed himself a return trip to Mauritius after registering the 10th hole-in-one of his career in Thursday’s second round of the Constance Hotels Pro-Am.

Harwood took an eight-iron for the 170 yards of the 17th hole and saw his tee shot disappear into the cup, much to the excitement of playing partners Andrew Steward, David Gourlay and Ishtiaq Hajee Adam.

Read more on the MCB Tour Championship website.

 

 

Golf: Highlights from MCB Tour Championship 7 December 2011

Mike Maclean and Phil Golding

Mike Mclean and Phil Golding

As the MCB Tour Championship gets underway at Constance Belle Mare Plage, our golf journalist, Neil Webber is keeping you up-to-date with the latest happenings from the Legend and Links golf courses.

Local knowledge proved invaluable in the first round of the Constance Hotels Pro-Am as resident professional Vishnoo Seeneevassen led his all-Mauritian team to top spot in the Net section at the Links.

Find out more from the MCB Tour Championship website. You can watch Vishnoo in action with our videos of golf pro tips.

Two familiar faces were in evidence on the Legend course yesterday when former Mauritius Open champions Mike McLean and Phil Golding made guest appearances in the Constance Hotels Pro-Am.

As Barry Lane and Peter Fowler go head-to-head for the John Jacobs Trophy in this week’s MCB Tour Championship, we take a closer look at the leading two players on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit.

Frenchman Marc Farry is bidding for a sentimental double at this week’s MCB Tour Championship as he attempts to win a second European Senior Tour event he has helped to organise. Farry has been attached to host venue Constance Belle Mare Plage for the past ten years and was instrumental in attracting the Senior Tour to Mauritius in December 2009 for the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open, which paved the way for the 2011 season-ending MCB Tour Championship.

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 MCB Tour Championship: Andrew Oldcorn

It is one thing to play a course ‘blind’ in a metaphorical sense, but another altogether when the physical reality of an eye problem can threaten your entire career.

Andrew Oldcorn

Andrew Oldcorn

Andrew Oldcorn understands the difficulties better than most, having been afflicted with a serious eye condition for the second half of the European Senior Tour season which scuppered his hopes of ending the 2011 campaign as Number One.

Following successful surgery in October 2011 to remove a cataract in his right eye, the 52 year old Scot has a clear vision of the future, starting with the season-ending MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius.

Just being able to compete again on an equal footing with his peers on the Senior Tour is a huge relief to Oldcorn, whose inability to see properly caused him to lose ground at the top of the Order of Merit.  

Find out more about Andrew Oldcorn’s story and the MCB Tour Championship from the official 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: It’s an open contest, says record winner Mason

How times have changed for Carl Mason. When he made his only previous visit to Mauritius, for a family holiday around 20 years ago, it was as a good but not exceptional European Tour golfer who was still awaiting his first Tour victory.

Carl Mason

Carl Mason

Mason doesn’t remember too much about his time on the island then but he does recall being impressed by its beauty and the friendliness of its inhabitants.

Making history

That hasn’t changed at all but Mason’s list of achievements certainly has and he will arrive at the Constance Belle Mare Plage as the most successful golfer in European Senior Tour history, with 25 titles in 8 years.

The Englishman’s first win on the main European Tour did not arrive until 1994, 21 years after his tour debut. Later the same season came a second success, in the prestigious Scottish Open at Gleneagles.

‘It was a little while after that when I simply stopped enjoying the game,’ said the 58-year-old. ‘I just got fed up. I had been on tour for 25 years. I didn’t have a bad record and I had never been to qualifying school but my desire had gone.’

Mason became a rules official for a while but was not interested in returning to the tour and spent 6 years doing other things.

‘Eventually, I began to watch the Senior Tour on television,’ he explained, ‘and I started to think, I can do as well as most of those guys, and took a little more interest.

Mason joined tour in 2003

‘I joined the tour in 2003 and managed to win my second competition. My confidence returned and it went on from there. I guess I had learned how to win.’

That is an understatement. In his 8 years on the Senior Tour, Mason has picked up trophy after trophy, passing the legendary Tommy Horton’s total of 23 at El Valle in Spain in May and adding another for good measure at La Quinta in October.

Horton, now 70, was one of the first to acknowledge the achievement, first in a phone call to Mason from his home on Jersey and then in a letter.

Mason acknowledges that it is unlikely his record of wins will ever be surpassed.

‘The standard is getting better every season so it is going to become harder for anyone to win on a repetitive basis,’ he said.

Mason’s playing opportunities have been restricted this year by the recurrence of a back problem but he still sits eighth in the Senior Tour order-of-merit.

2011 MCB Tour Championship

The MCB Tour Championship represents his first tournament on Mauritius.

‘I didn’t come to the MCB Open because of commitments in Florida, where we spend around 4 months of the year. But I am making a special trip for the Tour Championship.’

He is up against some hardened campaigners and a host of multi-tournament winners.

‘Tom Lehman and David Frost must be among the favourites,’ says Mason, ‘but there are many good players. Peter Fowler has had a wonderful campaign and Barry Lane has had a great season, so who knows who will collect the trophy. Anyone is capable if it is their day.’

Article written by Neil Webber, golf journalist