A new beginning
Announced earlier this year, the MCB Tour Championship has been expanded to two events in the Indian Ocean. The first takes place this week in Mauritius at Constance Belle Mare Plage, a European Tour Destination, and the second stage will see the first-ever professional tournament played in Seychelles next week, bringing the 2019 season to a close.
With 50 of the Staysure Tour’s finest teeing it up this week, there is still all to play for with the top 29 from the Order of Merit and three invitations participating in the season-ending event at Constance Lemuria.
Wiratchant’s record-breaking exploits
Last year, Thaworn Wiratchant rewrote the history books with his magnificent victory on the Legend Course. The Thai, the Asian Tour’s most prolific winner, put on a Mauritian masterclass as he carded a course record-equaling round of 62, ten under par, to win by a mammoth eight strokes.
With rounds of 66-65-62, Wiratchant recorded the lowest 54-hole score to par in Staysure Tour history. He equaled Bob Cameron’s long-standing record of 193 strokes, but Cameron’s total was achieved on the par 67 Sanremo GC in 2004.
2017 saw the low 54 holes to par record broken twice, with Barry Lane, who carded the lowest round ever on Europe’s over-50s Tour, a 12 under par 60, setting the target at the Willow Senior Golf Classic with a 22 under par total. Wiratchant went one better with an eagle on the 18th hole in Mauritius for a 23 under par total.
A growing history
This is the eighth edition of the MCB Tour Championship, but the tenth time the Staysure Tour has visited this magnificent island. Played in 2010 and 2011, the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open preceded the MCB Tour Championship, which was first played at the end of the 2011 season.
Since then, the tournament has seen six different winners from four continents, with 1996 Open champion and former World Number One Tom Lehman of the United States winning the first edition of the MCB Tour Championship, South African David Frost, who won the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open in 2011, won in 2012 before England’s Paul Wesselingh won back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014.
Colin Montgomerie and Barry Lane kept the title in the British Isles with their victories in the following two years, before Wiratchant became the first Asian winner of the event last year.
Ryder Cup pedigree
With three former Ryder Cup Captains and nine Ryder Cup players in the field, competition is sure to be fierce this week.
The 2006 Ryder Cup Captains Tom Lehman and Ian Woosnam are joined by 2014 European Captain Paul McGinley on the Legend Course, an aptly-named course for this week’s competitors.
In addition to the Ryder Cup Captains, Peter Baker, Gordon Brand Jnr, Paul Broadhurst, Barry Lane, Phillip Price, Costantino Rocca, Jarmo Sandelin and Jean van de Velde will compete in this week’s MCB Tour Championship.
Broadhurst ready for battle
Awarded the John Jacobs Trophy in Mauritius two years ago, Paul Broadhurst will hope to rubber-stamp his phenomenal 2018 season with strong performances in the Indian Ocean which will see him crowned Staysure Tour Number One for the second time since turning 50 in 2015 at the end of next week’s MCB Tour Championship - Seychelles.
Keen not to cross the finish line with a whimper, he will hope to go one better than his runner-up performance in 2016, when he finished one stroke behind close friend Barry Lane.
In three appearances at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Broadhurst has three top ten finishes. He was tenth in 2015, second in 2016 and tied seventh last year.
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