Excitement is building for the start of the eagerly-awaited MCB Tour Championship at Constance Belle Mare Plage at the beginning of December, sponsored by Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and Air Mauritius, the championship is once again the finale to the Legends Tour season and this year promises to be the most keenly-contested and glamorous to date.
The Legend course at Constance Belle Mare Plage will be the stage from December 6 to 10 for not only the finest ’senior’ golfers on the tour but will also host illustrious celebrity golfers from various walks of life.
They will sprinkle even more superstar stardust on what has become established as the traditional season-ending event on the edge of the Indian Ocean – but more on them later.
Despite the presence of several greats of the sports world at Constance Belle Mare Plage, the main focus remains the championship – which has an increased prize fund of $1,000,000 – as well as the conclusion to the Order of Merit race for the John Jacobs Trophy.
Defending champion Thomas Bjorn has confirmed his presence in Mauritius again and will surely be the man to beat.
Last year, Bjorn took few recent competitive rounds into the event and made three bogeys in his first seven holes but found his rhythm on day two, shooting a course-record 61 before cruising to victory by seven shots with a closing 67.
He became the latest big name to win the MCB Tour Championship on the Legend course, which was designed by former Tour player Hugh Baiocchi of South Africa and renovated in the last three years to widespread acclaim. Some of golf’s highest-profile players – including former Open champion Tom Lehman, Ryder Cup icon Colin Montgomerie and 10-time PGA Tour winner David Frost – have also won at Constance Belle Mare Plage.
Bjorn, who marked his introduction to the senior circuit with victory in his third start at the Irish Legends, produced a dominant winning performance last year but he will face stiff competition to repeat the feat 12 months on.
Peter Baker leads the Order of Merit after a season in which the former Ryder Cup player has already won a trio of events – the Irish Legends, the JCB Championship and the flagship Staysure PGA Seniors Championship.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year Adilson da Silva’s accuracy off the tee is perfectly suited to the Legends course and he has also won three times this season to sit behind Baker in the merit race.
James Kingston had one hand on the Order of Merit going into last year’s event and his position at the top of the seasonal standings look shaky when he opened with a 74 but he rallied to finished tied for second behind Bjørn to claim the John Jacobs Trophy thanks to a remarkable 10 top-10 finishes in 2023.
Former Ryder Cup player Jarmo Sandelin shot a blistering closing 65 four years ago to turn a four-shot deficit going into the final round into a three-shot triumph. So he clearly enjoys the Legend course and so does his fellow Swede and former Ryder Cup player Joakim Haeggman, who finished in the top 10 last year. Another Swede, the rookie Patrik Sjoland, will likely be another contender this year after recording his first Legends Tour win at the European Senior Masters. He will make his debut at Belle Mare Plage this year.
Stephen Dodd, the 2021 Legends Tour Order of Merit winner, double senior Major champion Roger Chapman and 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell are other names to look out for.
Players will this year compete for a prize pool that has been increased by $250,000 thanks to a contribution from event sponsors MCB. The top five in the final order of merit standings will also share a bonus $100k pot: $50,000 to the leader, $25,000 to the runner-up and $15,000, $7,500 and $2,500 to the third, fourth and fifth-placed finishers respectively.
The Celebrity Series and Alliance Series also climax at Constance Belle Mare Plage, meaning amateur golfers and stars of the sport and entertainment world will mix with legendary professional golfers on the fairways and around the resort.
Brian McFadden of Westlife fame booked his place in the Indian Ocean by winning two of this year’s celebrity events, and he will compete against legendary England cricketer James Anderson, former Chelsea and Italy striker Gianfranco Zola, ex-Manchester United forward Teddy Sheringham, 1996 Formula One world champion Damon Hill, Celtic icon Pat Bonner (the defending champion), musician DJ Locksmith and ex-rugby and cricket player Liam Botham.
The countdown is on for the start of the action on the Legend course at Constance Belle Mare Plage, which has become established as the perfect host of the season finale – even if the similarity in name between the course and the tour is a mere coincidence.