Phil Golding has targeted a “dream win” at the season-ending MCB Tour Championship to round off an impressive rookie campaign in style.
The Englishman, currently in 16th place on the Order of Merit thanks chiefly to back-to-back runner-up finishes in Scotland and Wales in August, won the tournament in 1996, 13 years before it joined the Senior Tour Schedule.
Golding’s appearance at Constance Belle Mare Plage from December 7-9 will be his first as a Senior Tour Member, and the 2003 Open de France champion is relishing the prospect of making a bold bid to collect the €60,000 first prize.
He said: “I was invited to play in 1996 by the secretary of the PGA at the time, David Wright, and won it. From that I was invited to the Gene Sarazen World Open for a couple of years, and was also invited back to Mauritius every year, which was great because it’s a beautiful place to be.
“Even when it became an event for Seniors and I couldn’t play, I went to the south-west part of the island to play, and last year I was invited to play in the tournament Pro-Am, even though I hadn’t turned 50.
“So this year, I go back officially as a Senior. It would be a dream to win again there.”
Constance Belle Mare Plage has hosted the €400,000 tournament every year since 2009, when England’s Kevin Spurgeon lifted the trophy.
Golding believes it is the perfect venue to host the season finale and, having played the 6,614 yards, par 72 layout on numerous occasions, he has high hopes of succeeding American Tom Lehman as champion.
Golding said: “It’s a beautiful course. You have to be very straight, but you don’t hit your driver too many times. It’s not long, but it is tricky in places. The changes over the years have actually made it slightly easier, as there were a lot of rocks and debris before.
“There’s always a lot of people watching, and it’s a great tournament to end the season with – a fitting finale. It’s obviously not a holiday, but it has a holiday feel to it because it’s such a relaxed and enjoyable week.
“It’s just a beautiful part of the world – one of my favourite destinations to go to. Since 1996 – 16 years ago – I’ve been back every year apart from one, when my son Lucas was born.
“It’s a gorgeous place to go just before Christmas, because you come home with a nice tan when everyone else is sick of winter!”