Our man at Constance Belle Mare Plage brings you all the action from behind the scenes at the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius.
Practice makes perfect
All eyes are on the battle at the top of the Order of Merit this week as Peter Fowler and Barry Lane go head-to-head for the John Jacobs Trophy. With Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy contesting The Race to Dubai on The European Tour, it promises to be quite an interesting Sunday in the world of golf. Fowler has a lead of €25,569 over Lane in the Order of Merit, with Lane knowing he needs to win or finish second to overhaul the Australian. Both players were scheduled to attend a press conference here at Constance Belle Mare Plage at 5pm on Monday night, where they joined Tom Lehman, Marc Farry and Mike Cunning. First to turn up ready for duty was Barry, who all dressed up for the occasion, spotted Peter in golfing attire on the practice putting green. As the media began to gather at the Legend course restaurant for the conference, Peter then came over to join Barry and your correspondent and was duly met with Barry’s quip: “Getting a bit of extra practice in then, Pete?”. The pair are friends and have plenty of experience of playing together this season so it promises to be good natured battle to the wire. And what a place for battle to commence. Belle Mare Plage has hosted the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open in December 2009 and December 2010 but the move to become the Senior Tour Championship means there is even more to play for this time round.
As if the battle for the John Jacobs Trophy was not intriguing enough, Tom Lehman’s presence in the field this week gives an added dimension to the MCB Tour Championship. The former Open Champion and Ryder Cup player is making his debut in a regular Senior Tour event, and fulfils an ambition dating back to 1989 to visit Mauritius. Having already won the Money List on the US Champions Tour, Tom joins Peter and Barry, the two contenders for our own Order of Merit, in the first round on Friday. As Barry joked in the press conference: “Let’s see how good the Americans really are!”
Golf courses can often be havens for wildlife as anyone who watched the South African swing on The European Tour will testify. Here at Belle Mare Plage, we’ve also been treated to some friendly little creatures. If you are around at the right time you will be able to see deer cooling themselves down in the lake by the 18th green, while in the tournament office on Tuesday a kamikaze gecko kept the Senior Tour staff entertained. The foot long creature took up residence in the office, first on the wall then the ceiling, waiting for its moment before, catching the staff unaware, it came crashing down onto recorder Barrie Hill’s printer with a thud enough to scare even one of the Tour’s most laid back of employees. Back up the wall he scampered before minutes later repeating his plummet, with similar startling effect.