AfrAsia Bank global ambassador Hennie Otto who has won 12 titles on the Sunshine Tour, as well as Thomas Levet and Thomas Bjorn who have both won 12 and 15 professional titles respectively, are amongst the leading players set to participate in the inaugural €1-million (approximately US$1.1-million) AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, which will be played at the Heritage Golf Club from May 7 to 10.
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who won his second European Tour title at the Shenzhen International two weeks ago, South African George Coetzee who also won his second European Tour title at the 2015 Tshwane Open and Australian Scott Hend, one of the most successful international players on the Asian Tour will be among the star-studded cast to headline the inaugural tournament.
Selwyn Nathan, Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour, said: “We are delighted to be joining the Asian and European Tours in staging the first-ever tri-sanctioned event in Mauritius. We enjoy excellent relationships with both Tours.
“This ground-breaking tournament in Mauritius will bring the three Tours even closer and, importantly for us, offer our members another opportunity to compete at the highest levels on the world stage. We have a very exciting field of players from the three Tours, and I have no doubt that we will see some of the best golf action at the tournament,” added Nathan.
Keith Waters, The European Tour’s Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy, said: “It is always exciting to break new ground and the inaugural AfraAsia Bank Mauritius Open at The Heritage Golf Club promises to be a superb tournament, with the three Tours coming together for the first time.
“We enjoy a strong relationship with both the Asian Tour and the Sunshine Tour, and we are delighted to bring these two partnerships together for the first time for this historic tri-sanctioned event. This relationship is embodied in two of the players in the field, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and George Coetzee, both of whom have won on the European Tour in recent weeks. They will be joined at The Heritage Golf Club by a number of other European Tour champions, and we thank the AfrAsia Bank for their support of this new tournament.
“Mauritius is a magnificent destination and I’m certain the players from all three Tours will enjoy their trip, while the tournament will help showcase the beautiful island to a global television audience.”
Mike Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Tour said: “The Asian Tour will be represented by a truly eclectic mix of champions from over 15 different nationalities and we look forward to our members performing at the very highest level at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
“Our talented players have been very successful in recent co-sanctioned tournaments with The European Tour, winning the previous five events and we are hopeful they can challenge for the title at the Heritage Golf Resort. With a great field assembling in Mauritius, this first tri-sanctioned tournament by the Asian, European and Sunshine Tours is poised to be a memorable one indeed for the sponsors, players, golf fans and television viewers from around the world.”
The tournament will also see 22-year-old Mauritian Ludovic Bax De Keating participating through a sponsor’s invite. Ludovic started playing golf at age 10. In 2014, he had the chance to play the prestigious Eisenhower Trophy representing Mauritius, and is delighted to have been selected for a place in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. Bax De Keating joins 16-year old Chinese teen star Guan Tianlang, who was the youngest golfer at the age of 14 years and five months, to make the halfway cut in a Major championship at the Masters in 2013.
“I am very excited and I believe it’s going to be a great experience for me regardless of the result. I am going to play the tournament without any expectation as I never had the chance to participate in such a major tournament. I am very grateful to the Mauritian Golf Federation giving a Mauritian a chance to play in such a tournament,” said Bax De Keating.