Colin Montgomerie makes his debut in the MCB Tour Championship on the sunshine island of Mauritius this week, with the Scot in a relaxed but competitive mood as he prepares to end his first campaign as a senior golfer.
After turning 50 in June, the Scot claimed his maiden title in the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters at the start of September and is hoping to add another victory at Constance Belle Mare Plage in the European Senior Tour’s season finale.
It would be the perfect way for the victorious 2010 European Ryder Cup Captain to round off a year that has pleasantly surprised him.
“I’ve enjoyed this season a lot more than I thought I would,” said the Scot. “I thought I’d be walking the dogs by now, but I’ve found that at 50 I might as well do something, and all I can do is play golf. So I thought I’d come out on this Tour and enjoy the competition, as I’m a competitor.
“The competition is very, very good. The one thing I have underestimated since turning 50 is the standard of competition. It is only just behind the European Tour. It’s extremely high. It’s more relaxed away from the course, but once the gun goes it is exactly the same on it.”
With Constance Belle Mare Plage providing the idyllic backdrop for the €400,000 event, Montgomerie is hoping to be inspired by his surroundings.
“It’s beautiful here, it really is paradise,” he said. “It’s also very hot. The breeze is great on the beach, but inland on the course, when you are out of the breeze, it is very warm. Especially when you are over 50. It’s a good golf course though and it is in good condition. The greens are good too, less grainy than I expected. I think it is a fantastic layout and a good test of golf.
“It’s narrow off the tee. Fairways are a must here. I’ll need to keep the ball in play and make some putts if I’m going to compete this week.”
Having finished as The European Tour’s Number One on a record eight occasions, Montgomerie knows all about closing out an Order of Merit victory, and he will be keeping a close eye on the battle between Paul Wesselingh and Steen Tinning for the Senior Tour top spot.
Wesselingh has a €47,936 cushion heading into the final event of the season, and Montgomerie has been impressed by the Englishman, who has enjoyed a fairy tale rise from a long time club professional to a three-time winner this season.
“Paul has shown it is possible to come from a club background and compete out here,” he said. “All credit to Paul. I played with him in Russia a few months ago and he hits the ball extremely well and is very solid. He has a great opportunity to win the Order of Merit this week and I wish him the best of luck with it.