OKI Castellon Senior Tour Championship Day 2 (Getty Images)
Sam Torrance has targeted a fast start to the new European Senior Tour campaign in Mauritius as he launches the defence of his Order of Merit crown on the sunshine island.
The 2002 Ryder Cup winning Captain is relishing being the Senior Tour Number One after beating Ian Woosnam to the John Jacobs Trophy in the final event of the 2009 season, the OKI Castéllon Senior Tour Championship.
After a short break Torrance is back in action in the inaugural Mauritius Commericial Bank Open at the stunning Constance Belle Mare Plage, where he will be hoping to repeat the strong start he made to last year.
Torrance finished sixth in the 2009 season opener in Brunei before winning the DGM Barbados Open and despite the early December start to the new campaign he is eager to start his defence in similar fashion.
“I’m almost in holiday mode – it’s strange to have next year’s season starting now but it’s a beautiful place and I’m looking forward to it,” said the Scot, who has won the John Jacobs Trophy three times.
“It was a real achievement to win the Order of Merit at 56 years old as it gets harder each year you get older on the Senior Tour. Hopefully I can do it again this year.
“This is a great place to start. It is paradise. We’ve been here four or five times on holiday and I haven’t played too much golf here but it’s a great place. For tourism it is a fantastic place. The beach is great, the food is amazing and the people are lovely. They are the most friendly island people of any island I’ve been to, the Mauritians.”
While Torrance, who as joint winner of the Pro-Am attended a pre-tournament reception along with several other of the leading players, might find the hospitality of the locals in Mauritius among the best he has experienced he is aware the Hugh Baiocchi-designed Legend Course is not quite as accommodating.
“It’s a tough course,” he said. “It’s lost ball either side on most fairways so you have to keep it straight. It’s very tight. You have to be on top of your game. I’ve not played much since Tour Championship and I’m a little bit on holiday mode but when you get on the first tee it will all click into place and we’ll see what happens.
“The first event is always important. It puts you in a good position in the Order of Merit and if you are fortunate to win the first event people spend the next few events trying to catch you.”
Among the new players trying to stop Torrance from continuing his impressive form so far this calendar year is rookie David Frost, who makes his debut in Mauritius this week. Frost, who also attended the Thursday night drinks reception hosted by Constance Belle Mare Plage, has already recorded four top ten finishes on the US Champions Tour.