Peter Fowler and Barry Lane, the leading two players on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit, were joined by US Champions Tour Money List winner Tom Lehman at the launch of the 2011 season-ending MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius.
Two-time Senior Tour winner Marc Farry, who is attached to host venue Constance Belle Mare Plage, and defending champion Mike Cunning also joined the trio for a press conference at the Legends Course.
Fowler and Lane will battle for the John Jacobs Trophy at the season finale, with Australian Fowler currently €25,569 ahead of the Englishman on the Senior Tour Order of Merit.
The pair will play alongside each other in the opening round on Friday and they came face-to-face at the launch event on Monday, with both players in confident mood.
“We’re both in a fortunate position to be competing for the Order of Merit and it promises to be a good week,” said Fowler. “It is always a battle when Barry’s playing. He’s a tough competitor and he’s played well throughout the year.”
Lane was similarly full of praise for his rival, with one of them set to succeed Boonchu Ruangkit as Senior Tour Number One on Sunday night.
“Peter has played great as well this year and we’ve played together quite often over the last few months in the final round,” said Lane. “It’s nice that it has come down to the last tournament and that we both have a chance to win it. Last year Boonchu was way ahead so it is nice for us to have something to play for.
“It’s not just about us though – there are 54 players in the field and Tom Lehman has come across to play so it’s going to be difficult. I would probably have to win the tournament and Peter not finish second so it is going to be exciting.”
Former United States Ryder Cup Captain and 1996 Open Champion Tom Lehman, who is making his debut in the event, believes it will be an intriguing battle between the pair.
“It brings back memories for me as I was in the same position in our year ending event on the US Champions Tour,” said the American. “I had a lead and Mark Calcavecchia came very close to taking it all in the last week. It’s down to the wire here as well and any time you get great players together, exciting things happen. Knowing these two guys as I do, something special will happen this week.”
Farry, who helped bring the Senior Tour to Mauritius in 2009 for the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open, is also looking forward to a ending the season on a high note.
“It is special for me to see this tournament end the season now but it also means it is tougher for me as the field is so strong,” said the Frenchman. “I will have to play my best golf to win the tournament. It would be a dream to win it. I’m part of the organisation for the tournament and we have moved it forward. I’ve also been part of the Constance group for 10 years now and they are like family to me so it would mean a lot to get the trophy this Sunday, for me and the friends I have this year.”
The man currently in possession of the trophy, Cunning, won the season-ending event in Castellón, Spain, last year and is hoping for another strong finish to the 2011 campaign.
“I’ve got the title but it is a whole different venue but I’m hoping I can do well this week,” said Cunning. “It’s great to have such a good field here. We’ve moved the Senior Tour Championship forward when you see the players coming. Constance Belle Mare Plage is going to be a great venue for this championship.
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