Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Mauritius Open 2016 - Anahita Golf Club

We have a new new venue for this year's Mauritius Open out in the Indian Ocean, an Ernie Els designed resort course that has been used previously in hosting the Mauritius Masters. The masters event is normally held between players from the French Allianz Tour and some guests from the European Tour. Max Orrin will be well tipped to do well here as he won the Masters event last December at Anahita and in 2014!

By all accounts the wind will be the main factor this week, and those that have played here in the past as always should have some advantage. Its a tri-sanctioned event this week in that the Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour and European Tour have all endorsed this tournament. It's not a great field it has to be said  but it has found a slot on the schedule alongside the Players Championship at Sawgrass on the PGA Tour this week and one week ahead of the Irish Open at the K Club, before moving on to Wentworth the week after for the BMW PGA Championship. Given the timing and the purse though, this could be an event that could grow over the years especially if we have the market leaders all in contention come Sunday. I've never been to Mauritius but from hearing from those that have, this island ranks as one of the most beautiful places on earth and it has attracted interest from some of the players playing here this week, none more so than my selection for the week, Nicolas Colsaerts @ 28/1.

Colsaerts first visited Mauritius when he was fifteen years of age and has been going back regularly ever since, so much so that he now represents Anahita GC on tour. He also won the Mauritius Masters in 2010. He said a couple of years ago that it was his favourite place to play golf and is a course that is "almost always windy" and "it's great for ball striking". Plenty of room off the tee should see Colsaerts with an advantage and with small greens to aim at, its worthwhile noting that the Belgian Bomber ranks high in the GIR stats category this season. I backed Colsaerts in Qatar and Shenzhen to no avail but I'm hoping that on a course he knows very well and being settled in for the week at his own property nearby, he can make it third time lucky here and kick-start his season.Hes made seven cuts from his nine starts for just one TOP10 and one TOP20 but he's been playing better than his results have shown and he should be determined to put in a good show here.Despite the recent winners in the field, Colsaerts may see this week as a huge opportunity and he's a confident pick.

In this "weak" field we have defending champion George Coetzee who on paper should take all the beating but recent form doesn't suggest that he is a shoo-in. The field also sees the winners from the last three weeks compete: Hao Tong Li, Soomin Lee and Jeunghun Wang, not to mention Thailand winner back in March, Scott Hend. Throw in Brandon Stone and Haydn Porteous, winners in the South African and Joburg Opens, and the event and it's sponsors can boast a decent field. Its not as "weak" on second glance. The young guns could have something to say again this week.

From my shortlist released on Tuesday, Hennie Otto could be worth getting onside with @ 45/1. Otto missed the cut in both Valderrama and Genzon but he was 21st at Topwin GC after an opening day 63. Otto has always produced his best on his home tour although he did win the Italian Open in 2008 and 2014. But as mentioned, the youngsters could be having their say this week and I'm happy to overlook the 39 year. (he turns 40 next month for those who like the milestone birthday factor to consider). David Dixon, also 39, was TOP10 in Morocco last week improving on his 38th in Shenzhen & 45th in Valderrama and was considered for this, but I'll add my second selection in the shape of Rashid Khan @ 110.00.  Its been a quiet spell for the very talented 25 year old form New Delhi but he did show his game is in decent shape with a solid sixth on his home course last time out. Hopefully he will see fellow Asian Tour success in the last three weeks as a motivator to perform better as he goes in search of his seventh professional title.

Selections:

1.5 pts e/w N. Colsaerts @ 29.00
0.5 pts win R.Khan @ 110.00
2.5 pts TOP10 R. Khan @ 9.00