Sam Torrance (Getty Images)
The 2010 European Senior Tour season swings into action with an unseasonal taste of paradise this week when the inaugural Mauritius Commercial Bank Open provides the platform for Sam Torrance to launch his defence of the John Jacobs Trophy.
Constance Belle Mare Plage hosts the curtain raiser to the new campaign with rookie David Frost among the fresh recruits hoping to wrest the Order of Merit crown away from the 2002 Ryder Cup Captain.
South African Frost, who won the Cannes Open in 1984 and the South African Open in 1999 on The European Tour, joins the Senior Tour after turning 50 in September and will be hoping to get off to a flying start over the Legend Course which was designed by his compatriot Hugh Baiocchi.
Baiocchi, a seven time European Tour champion, will also be part of the field, along with Marc Farry who is attached to Constance Belle Mare Plage, but all eyes will be on Torrance after he edged out Ian Woosnam to finish the 2009 season as Number One.
The Scot capped a superb year by finishing third in the season ending OKI Castéllon Senior Tour Championship to leapfrog Woosnam and win his third Order of Merit by just €3,380.
Having burst out of the blocks last year, finishing tied sixth in Brunei then winning the DGM Barbados Open, Torrance will be eager to do the same again in Mauritius.
“Mauritius, and Constance Belle Mare Plage, should be a fantastic place to start the new season and it’s another exciting new trip for the Senior Tour,” said the 56 year old. “I’m looking forward to the new event and to defending my John Jacobs Trophy.”
Similarly England’s Glenn Ralph – who began last season by tying for sixth with Torrance in Brunei - will hope to continue his superb form of 2009 at Constance Belle Mare Plage having finished fourth on the Order of Merit last season.
Ralph made a remarkable return to golf at the start of the year after 14 months out with a broken ankle – ironically sustained while on holiday in Mauritius – winning the Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open in August. How did it happen? Did he talk about the accident?
“I went to Belle Mare Plage last winter for a couple of weeks to get my golf back on track and it worked,” said Ralph. “They’ve always been great to us there and we’ve been going for a number of years now.
“It’s a really tough course and it’s really, really tight but I’ve been down there enough years so I know the course well enough. Hopefully that will be an advantage. I would be great to go and win at the place where I broke my leg which stopped my career for a while.”
Peter Mitchell, winner of the Casa Serena Open, will also begin his new campaign in Mauritius, as will former Ryder Cup player Costantino Rocca of Italy.