The 58 year old, a former winner of the John Jacobs Trophy, arrived in Mauritius with an outside chance of topping the Order of Merit for the second time and birdied three of the last six holes to finish one stroke ahead of defending MCB Tour Championship winner Barry Lane, Mark McNulty and Thaworn Wiratchant, who each carded six under par rounds.
Fowler started the day with four birdies on the first six holes, making the turn in 32, and his late flourish saw him take sole possession of first place.
“I’m really pleased, that’s the best I’ve putted all year,” said Fowler. “I was happy with my rhythm around the course. I think you could shoot lower here, but it depends on how you’re rolling your putts on these grainy greens – it’s not easy.
“It’s not a long course, but it’s tricky. The greens are small, and you have to be accurate both off the tee and into the greens.
“Competition here is tough. I played with Paul Broadhurst today, and there’s David Frost and Tom Lehman here too, they are hardened campaigners.”
Lane and McNulty both fired bogey free rounds, with Lane eagling the 18th hole to share second place.
“The shot I hit into the last was magnificent,” said Lane. “I had 220 yards into the wind, and I told my caddie it was a perfect five wood, but I had to hit it perfect; thankfully I did and then I rolled the putt in.
“I haven’t felt well today at all. I’ve got an awful cold, but you need to go out there and enjoy it.
“I just hope I feel better tomorrow. I love this course and I play it nicely. I putted beautifully today and got up and down when I needed to.”
McNulty, playing in just his fourth regular Senior Tour event, was equally pleased with his round.
“I’m chuffed with the way I played,” said the Irishman. “I putted nicely, and I’m happy with the round. The weather is beautiful here, and that score has given me a good base to work with.”
Order of Merit leader Clark Dennis shares fifth place with André Bossert after a four under par round of 68. Philip Golding, who has an outside chance of winning the John Jacobs Trophy, is one of six golfers in a share of seventh on three under par.
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