South African David Frost recovered from a double bogey to set the clubhouse target in the MCB Tour Championship with a four under par 68 at Constance Belle Mare Plage.
Frost, who won the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open at the same venue last December, was three under par at the turn before his drive found a bush on the 12th hole resulting in double bogey as he slipped down the leaderboard. He responded immediately with birdies on the 13th and 14th holes before another birdie on the closing hole.
Although the tournament has changed to become the European Senior Tour’s season-finale, won last year by Mike Cunning in Spain, Frost feels like he has a title to defend this week after claiming his maiden victory earlier in the 2011 campaign. On that occasion he eagled the last hole to force a play-off against Roger Chapman and he nearly repeated that feat only to see his eagle putt lip out.
“It was a good start today and I played great apart from that one hole when I was a little aggressive,” said the 52 year old.
“I hadn’t made any putts until the 12th hole and coming after the double bogey all of a sudden you make two in a row. That 18th hole brought back some nice memories, especially going close to eagle again. It was a thrilling finish last year and it is a hole you can attack if you have a good drive.”
Englishman Nick Job is two shots back after he eagled the last hole for a two under par. Job produced a magnificent three wood approach shot to three foot over the water on the 18th to add to birdies on the eighth, tenth and 11th.
The 62 year old, a five time Senior Tour champion, is looking to end a difficult year on a high note after not recording a top 20 finish since the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open at the same venue last December.
“It’s been a terrible year really but this was a good round and a very nice way to finish with that eagle,” said Job. “It’s a tough shot over the water and you really have to commit to it if you are going for it.”
Job is level is Spaniard José Rivero who was two over par after three holes but birdied the sixth, eighth, tenth and 18th holes for his 70. Marc Farry, who is attached to Constance Bell Mare Plage, opened with a 73 after double bogeys on the 15th and 18th holes.
American Tom Lehman, the US Champions Tour Number One, made a fine start to his round, birdieing the first and second hole and was five under par through 12 holes.
Lehman is playing with the leading two players on the Senior Tour Order of Merit, Peter Fowler and Barry Lane, who are battling for the John Jacobs Trophy at the season-ending event
Both players will have hoped for better starts, with Fowler reaching the turn two over par after a double bogey six on the eighth hole and Lane four over par after a double bogey on the ninth.
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