David Frost conjured a magnificent eagle three on the 18th hole to force the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open into a play-off where the South African defeated England’s Roger Chapman at the second extra hole.
After a thrilling final round that had seen Chapman overhaul a four shot deficit and take a two shot lead down the final hole, Frost saved his best till last with a brilliant drive followed by a sublime three iron to 15 feet that he rolled home for eagle and a final round score of three under par 69.
With Chapman making a par five on the last to sign for a seven under 65, it meant both men finished locked together on 13 under for the tournament, and forced them back to the 18th tee to slug it out in a sudden-death format.
Two perfect drives were followed by two approaches that found the fringes of the green – Chapman was pin high to the right and Frost just off the back of the putting surfaces. Two fine chips to four feet were then followed by solid putts to force the play-off back to the 18th tee once again.
Chapman then hit his only bad shot of what had been an inspired final round, tugging his drive into the deep left rough. The Englishman was fortunate to get a free drop from a nearby wall but his luck was instantly snatched away as his second shot struck a tree and stayed in the rough, forcing him to play out of the heavy stuff left-handed.
After watching Chapman’s drive find trouble, Frost elected a three wood off the tee, from where he laid up to 50 yards short of the green. Chapman then hit a fine rescue towards the target but ran out of green and found the sand. His opponent made no mistake with his third shot, leaving it 15 feet short and when Chapman couldn’t hole his bunker shot Frost took his two putts to secure the title.
“It was a great final round and a great victory for me because when I was standing on the 18th tee two shots back I didn’t think I had any chance,” admitted Frost who picks up €42,000 for picking up the Mauritius Commercial Bank Trophy and moves to fifth on the 2011 Senior Tour Order of Merit.
“Roger had made a great birdie putt on 17 so I didn’t give myself much hope. Then I saw him take three wood and thought he was playing for a par so I had one chance to make eagle.
“Thankfully I hit a good drive and a great three iron to set-up a makeable putt which I finally made after missing so many great chances throughout the day. I’m delighted to have won here – it is another great experience in my life that I will never forget. I have been very privileged to play and win all over the world and this is another chapter for me.”
For Chapman, his defeat brought a bitter end to what has been a truly emotive week. The Englishman lost his lifelong friend, mentor and coach, George Will, last Monday and his performance was certainly inspired by the memory of one of golf’s great men.
Given those circumstances, a play-off defeat was certainly a cruel end to a day in which the classy Englishman had performed with the kind courage, determination and skill that would have made Will not only a satisfied coach, but, more importantly, a proud friend.
“I wanted to do it for George but it wasn’t meant to be,” said Chapman after the play-off. “I was very emotional out there today – in fact I have been emotional all week – and I didn’t put a foot wrong during regulation play. But you have to take your hat off to David, he made that eagle on the last when he absolutely had to and then I made the mistake in the play-off so you have to say the best man won.”