Looking back on a decade of MCB Tour Championship glory
The legends of world golf first visited Mauritius in 2009 for the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open, a tournament that quickly proved popular with competitors and fans alike. In 2011, the event was elevated in status to become the prestigious season-ending MCB Tour Championship.
The first tournament winner in 2011 was the former World No. 1 and 1996 British Open champion Tom Lehman, setting an immediate trend for legends of the game to thrive on the Legends Course and on what would become the Legends Tour (it was then the European Seniors Tour). A year later the South African 10-time PGA Tour winner David Frost lifted the trophy and, in 2015, European Ryder Cup hero Colin Montgomerie added his name to the trophy.
The Scotsman was the first of four Ryder Cup stars to win in six editions. Barry Lane kept the ball rolling in 2016, Jarmo Sandelin joined in the fun in 2019 and last year Thomas Bjørn thrashed the field by seven shots.
In-between these successes the Englishman Paul Wesselingh claimed back-to-back wins in 2013/14 while Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant and USA’s Clark Dennis completed outrageous eight-shot victories in 2017 and 2018.
Jarmo Sandelin, who had carded a brilliant final round 7-under-par 65 to win in 2019, went one better in the first round of his defence, shooting 64 to claim a one-shot lead on Friday night. In complete contrast, James Kingston lurched home in 74 blows which threatened his chances of holding on to his top spot in the seasonal rankings.
In the second round Danish debutant Thomas Bjørn showed his class with a tremendous 11-under-par 61 that left him four blows clear of the field and he didn’t waste the opportunity, adding a 67 on Sunday to win by seven blows.
Kingston was only slightly less impressive in responding to his poor start with rounds of 66-64 to finish second alongside Simon P Brown. He ended the week lifting the John Jacobs Trophy, awarded to No. 1 player in the MCB Race to Mauritius rankings.
The Legends Course at Constance Belle Mare Plage
The host course is an essential factor in the ongoing success of the MCB Tour Championship. It’s a superb layout that sneaks between volcanic rock, ponds, lakes and native trees providing a key test of the long game. It is no fluke that each of the championship winners has been legendary in status.
There is no more significant golf tournament played in the Indian Ocean than the MCB Tour Championship. With a deep history of superstar attendance and elite level competition, the event has become a much-loved seasonal finale that showcases Mauritius on the worldwide stage not only as a golfing paradise, but also as a crucial commercial hub that connects Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and America.
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