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Three is the magic number at the season ending MCB Tour Championship...
For the second year in succession, Colin Montgomerie will be crowned European Senior Tour number one
when he returns to Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius for the season-concluding
MCB Tour Championship, from 12th - 14th December.
The Scot, a two-time winner on the Tour this year, is already guaranteed the John Jacobs Trophy, awarded to the top golfer on the Order of Merit, but when he arrives in Mauritius there is a real sense that
three is the magic number.
For Montgomerie, the number has a double meaning. He is a two-time winner this season and is desperate to complete a third victory to sign off his year in style.
But he is also aware that he has unfinished business at the MCB Tour Championship. This is his third visit and he is yet to taste victory. In 2013 he played in the final group alongside eventual winner Paul Wesselingh of England, so he knows he has what it takes to lift the trophy on the Legends course and says:
“Having finished sixth the last two years, it would be great to finish off a consistent year with a win in Mauritius.”
But the Scottish Ryder Cup star is not the only player for whom the number three has great significance because defending champion Wesselingh is chasing a hat-trick of wins in the event and South Africa's David Frost is also on the brink of a third Senior Tour success on the island.
Wesselingh has completed his two victories in vastly contrasting fashions. Back in 2013 he seemed set for a final round showdown with Montgomerie, only to outplay his more famous partner and seal a superb five-shot victory.
Twelve months ago he was involved in a nerve-shredding and record-breaking six hole play-off with Barry Lane. The two players birdied the par-five final hole no less than five times on the trot before Wesselingh completed victory with a par.
It was the most dramatic and thrilling finish to the tournament in its four-year history.
Frost was a winner in 2012 and before that claimed the 2011 MCB Open,
the event which preceded the MCB Tour Championship on the Tour schedule.
With both men having such imperious course form they look set to present Montgomerie with quite a challenge and it will not be the only battle the Legends course witnesses in December because there will also be a thrilling conclusion to the
Tour's Rookie of the Year title, taking in golfers from four corners of the globe.
Englishman Paul Broadhurst currently leads the way, having claimed victory on debut at the Scottish Senior Open in August. He holds an advantage over China's Lianwei Zhang, who has clocked up six top 25 finishes since turning 50 in May.
Australia's Peter O'Malley needs to win the MCB Tour Championship,
with Broadhurst and Zhang finishing outside the top five, to pinch the Rookie title,
whilst Canada's Ken Tarling is also not entirely out of the running, but he also needs a win and for his rivals to have a poor week.
Also confirmed to play in the € 420,000 event are former Ryder Cup stars: Sam Torrance, Costantino Rocca,
Jose Rivero and Des Smyth.
Barry Lane will be hoping to go one better than last year and 2015 two-time winner Peter Fowler, currently second behind Montgomerie in the Order of Merit, also returns to the island.
It is arguably the strongest field yet assembled for the conclusion of the European Senior Tour season.
The venue is one the players love and consequently many bring family with them to enjoy the hotel surroundings.
As Montgomerie says:
“Myself and my family have had a fantastic time on our two recent trips to Constance Belle Mare Plage.
We've been treated like royalty.
The service and hospitality has been second to none. We are all so looking forward to returning in December.”