The morning sun is already shining over the horizon and I can’t help but look at the wonderful panorama stretching out before me as I follow the winding road down from the Central Plateau to the southern coast of the island.
Along this road that descends along the mountainside to the coastal road leading to Bel Ombre, I feel a rush of excitement at the thought of seeing some of the world’s finest golfers from up close. But wait, did I tell you that I was on my way to the third edition of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, taking place at the Heritage Golf Club in Bel Ombre?
An immersion in the final of this international championship
I am well acquainted with the Heritage Golf Club, having played there many times. It is one of the most spectacular golf courses on the island with magnificent scenery and a delight to play time and again. Set on an idyllic piece of land between rolling mountains and the turquoise lagoon of the Indian Ocean with beautiful vistas from every green and tee, the Heritage golf course provides an enjoyable and challenging experience for golfers of all handicap levels. It is no coincidence that it was voted Indian Ocean’s Best Golf Course in the last three years!
Once there, I scan the leaderboard to find the favourites. It is the fourth and final tournament day and out of the initial field of 156 players, there are only 66 finalists left, including a number of renowned tournament winners such as Louis Oosthuizen, George Coetzee, Arjun Atwal and Dylan Frittelli.
I spend the morning hanging around the first holes in groupie-like style, contemplating the birdies and bogeys among a cheerful, eclectic crowd of families, amateur and professional golf enthusiasts. At noon, the tropical summer heat kicks in and I am unable to decide whether to go to the Heritage C Beach Club for a lunch break by the pool… I finally choose not to miss a single second of this final day and stay on the course. I make my way towards the catering area to get a drink and have a chat with other golf fans.
Broadcast live to more than 480 million homes to 5 continents
This proves to be a good decision as I come across someone in charge of the video broadcast of the Open who tells me a bit about his work. It is no easy task as the event is broadcast live to more than 480 million homes across 5 continents! I knew that the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open was a renowned event but I had not imagined such an impact. This Golf Open has been around for only 3 years but it is quickly becoming a major event on the different professional tours. It is actually the world’s only tri-sanctioned golf tournament endorsed by the European, Asian and Sunshine Tours.
Frittelli however proves stronger and wins the 2017 Open.
As the day comes to a close, things get serious with Frittelli and Atwal fighting it out on the 18th hole, and the latter leading by only one shot. Atwal takes a big risk by attempting an aggressive play on this par 5 and reaches the green with his second shot. He misses a tournament-winning eagle by only a fraction of an inch. He finally ends up with a birdie to take it to a play-off. Frittelli however proves stronger and wins the 2017 Open.
Wow, this thrilling duel winds up in style an exciting day in paradise!!!
Looking forward to the next edition!