Mauritius marks milestone for professional golf

From Asian Tour

15_ABMO_ATstoryNEWThe inaugural staging of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open is poised to herald a historic occasion this week as golf stars from three continents gather at the magnificent Heritage Golf Club on the famous holiday isle.

As the first ever tri-sanctioned tournament endorsed by the Asian Tour, Sunshine (Southern African) Tour and European Tour, the €1 million (approximately US$1.1 million) showpiece will set a new milestone in the landscape of the professional game.

With golf returning into the Olympic Games programme in Rio de Janeiro next year following a lapse of over 100 years, golf’s governing bodies across the globe continue to cooperate closely to ensure the sport’s continued growth around the world.

Mike Kerr, CEO of the Asian Tour, lauded the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open for bringing together three full members of the International Federation of PGA Tours.

“The Asian Tour is delighted to break new ground with the launch of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, which will be a milestone in the history of the Asian Tour as it will be the first time the Asian Tour, European Tour and Sunshine Tour are joining forces to sanction what is poised to be a truly exciting and historic golf tournament,” said Kerr.

“It will be tremendous for Mauritius to play host to the finest golf stars from the three continents and through the Asian Tour to further promote the island and all of the partners to golf fans in Asia.”

The 138-man field, made up of at least 40 professionals from each of the participating Tours plus qualifiers and local invitees, will compete in a 72-hole stroke play championship over four days. The event will count towards the individual Tours’ Orders of Merit and Official World Golf Ranking points, Race to Dubai and Chase to the Investec Cup.

Former Asian Tour number one Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Australian Scott Hend and Bangladeshi star Siddikur Rahman and India’s Arjun Atwal will spearhead the Asian Tour challenge while Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and South African George Coetzee and Hennie Otto will lead the challenges from Europe and South Africa.

With an eclectic mix of international golf stars poised to tee up at the Heritage Golf Club, the tournament will present a truly different kind of offering, which was already portrayed during the official launch of the tournament last August.

Then, leading Tour officials and the title sponsors all rolled up their pants to pose for pictures by the C Beach Club at Heritage Resorts on Domaine de Bel Ombre, with the waves gently crashing in the background. Players and family members can expect to sample the finest hospitality that Mauritius has to offer during the week of the event.

Additionally, the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open will also offer what is possibly the richest reward for an eagle during the final round.

Villas Valriche, one of the tournament’s sponsors, will award the first player who shoots an eagle at the par 4, 423m, 17th hole on the final day of the tournament with a US$1 million villa.

Christophe Curé, President of the Mauritius Golf Federation, has already labelled the first staging of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open “one-of-a-kind.”

“It is with great honour that the Mauritius Golf Federation is hosting the three Tours, and playing a key role in organising this one-of-a-kind tournament. Together with the sponsors of this exciting new tournament, the Open will play a pivotal role in helping us to grow the game of golf on the island, and draw the world’s attention to our outstanding courses. This tournament promises to be a world-class golfing event.”

For the title sponsors, its involvement with the first ever tri-sanctioned tournament by the Asian, European and Sunshine Tours is a perfect fit to its commercial objectives.

James Benoit, CEO of AfrAsia Bank, said: “We are honoured to be the official sponsor of this first of its kind tri-sanctioned tournament in Mauritius and promoting golf as a key passion point. As a private and corporate bank, our aim is to be in line with supporting a sports partnership strategy that is aligned with business diversity and international presence, and the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open provides us with the unique opportunity to build on our sporting heritage while providing priceless experiences to our clients, and at the same time mapping Mauritius as a lifestyle, financial and logistics hub.”


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