Thursday, 07 December 2017
Clark Dennis  (Getty Images)
Clark Dennis (Getty Images)
European Senior Tour Order of Merit leader Clark Dennis hopes to finish the season on a high at the MCB Tour Championship at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius, the final event on the 2017 schedule.

The American leads the race for the John Jacobs Trophy with €202,583, more than €25,000 ahead of South Africa’s Chris Williams, but must finish first or outright second on the Legends Course to guarantee the Order of Merit title.

With seven golfers still in the hunt, Dennis, who earned his Senior Tour card at Qualifying School in February, believes Friday’s first round is crucial.

“Tomorrow is an important day to position yourself for the weekend,” he said. “The weather is supposed to be very nice, so scoring should be good. I just have to be in a position to make a run for it over the weekend.

“It’s funny because this time last year I was not sure if I was going to Q School. I waited until the deadline day to register. Winning the money list is definitely a goal but, whatever happens, I’m in way better shape than I was last year.”

Williams is enjoying his best season on the Senior Tour since 2010, when he finished second on the Order of Merit behind Boonchu Ruangkit. To win the John Jacobs Trophy, he must finish first, outright second, or outright third to stand a chance of finishing the year as Senior Tour Number One.

“It would be a wonderful thing to win the Order of Merit,” said Williams. “It was disappointing to finish second in 2010, but I’ve played very well this year.

“The last two years we have come to Mauritius I’ve been clinging to my card. There has been a lot of pressure, and this year it’s a different kind of pressure. I have been on tenterhooks the last two years, so I’m really happy to be in this different position.”

Magnus P Atlevi, defending John Jacobs Trophy holder Paul Broadhurst, Peter Fowler, Philip Golding, and defending MCB Tour Championship winner Barry Lane can each finish the year as Senior Tour Number One.

Lane, who finished one stroke ahead of Broadhurst at last year’s MCB Tour Championship, is delighted to have a chance of topping the Rankings after runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2012.

“When somebody doesn’t win a Major it gives everyone an opportunity to win the Order of Merit,” he said. “It’s great that there’s seven of us who have a chance. The pressure is all on Clark because he doesn’t want to make any mistakes. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Broadhurst and Lane are two of a dozen former Ryder Cup players in the field in Mauritius, which also includes 2006 captains Tom Lehman and Ian Woosnam. The pair will tee it up in a regular Senior Tour event for the first time. Lehman won the MCB Tour Championship in 2011, and Woosnam is making his Senior Mauritian debut.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WIRATCHANT, ThawornTHA18-23
2MCNULTY, MarkIRL18-15
T3MARTIN, Miguel AngelESP18-11
T3FOWLER, PeterAUS18-11
T5TOLEDO, EstebanMEX18-10
T5DENNIS, ClarkUSA18-10

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