The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) Golf Championship of 2011 ended the European Senior Tour season in the beautiful country of Mauritius. This championship is the only European PGA accredited golf tournament in Mauritius and in the Indian Ocean region. Held at the Constance Belle Mare Plage resort, the prestigious event attracted many world-famous golfers. Tourists and journalists also flocked to the resort to watch the tournament.
The luxurious Constance Belle Mare Plage provided the ideal setting for the high-status golf championship. Situated on a long white sandy beach on the east coast of Mauritius, the hotel also features a large tropical garden. The resort boasts world-famous golf courses. These include The Legend golf course and a 71 par golf course. Other attractions include coral reefs and water sports. The MCB Golf Championship was played on ‘The Legend’ golf course.
The Legend golf course was built in the heart of an indigenous forest. Tif Dwarf grass has been used for the fairways to ensure an excellent surface for golf. The most famous hole is the 17th, a par of three.
The MCB Golf Championship, which was first held in Mauritius in 2009, took place recently in December, 2011. The 54 players in the tournament had to play 54 holes and competed for a prize fund of a minimum of 400,000 Euros. The championship was preceded by a series of amateur competitions and a pro-am event.
The event was enhanced by the appointment of Frenchman, Marc Farry, as ‘Ambassador of Golf in Mauritius’. This famous French sportsman has won several sports tournaments in France and internationally. He intends ‘to bring even further the image and destination of Mauritius’. He said that Mauritius is his country and that he ‘will make every effort to strengthen its reputation as the best golf destination’.
The competitors included Tom Lehmann, who won the British Open in 1996, and the tall Australian, Peter Fowler, who won the 1993 BMW International Open in Germany. David Frost, a South African, who won the MCB Senior Open last year, vied for the title again. Ian Espitalier Noel, an amateur player from Mauritius who competed in the event, was popular with the locals.
The championship ended with an exciting battle between the American, Tom Lehmann, and last year’s winner, David Frost. David Frost hit a splendid birdie at the difficult 17th hole but he still trailed by a shot. The South African attempted to recover but his next ball landed a long way from the green. He had another chance when his ball made it to the heart of the green but his final attempt to achieve another birdie failed. Lehmann only needed a two-putt par to win the championship. Tom Lehmann stated that: ‘This is a special win for me’. He also said that: ‘When you come to somewhere like Mauritius, you feel a sense of urgency to play well’.
Australian Peter Fowler collected the John Jacobs Trophy for finishing top of the Senior Tour order of merit.
Many champion golfers and golf-lovers are looking forward to the event next year.