Former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker won a thrilling MCB Tour Championship at
Constance Belle Mare Plage and also clinched the Legends Tour’s order of merit that went right down to the last hole of the season.
Baker led Adilson da Silva by 264 points going into the season finale but the Brazilian pushed the Englishman, 56, all the way to clinch the MCB Race to Mauritius title. The pair entered the last round tied on 10 under but Baker stayed cool to shoot a closing 67 – his third of the week - that sealed a one-stroke triumph over Peter Fowler and Patrik Sjoland.
Baker made four birdies in his final six holes to secure victory in both the tournament and the order of merit in sensational manner - yet it could easily have been so different. The 1993 Ryder Cup player and the South African were never more than a stroke apart on an enthralling final day that ended with the players hitting their final drives of the season to within eight feet of each other.
Baker was a stroke in front and therefore still held the advantage because Da Silva had to win the tournament and hope Baker did not finish second in order to win the order of merit. But the Englishman knew a wayward shot into the water that lines the right side and the back of the 18th green on the Legend course would open the door for Da Silva if he could find an eagle.
He nailed a fairway wood to within six feet and punched the air in delight and no doubt also relief. Da Silva smiled in wry fashion, knowing his chance had realistically gone - but he still drilled his own approach on the par-5 18th to 20ft.
The Brazilian raced his eagle putt past and could not make the one coming back so had to settle for a closing par, a 69 and a share of fourth with Jean-Francois Remesy on 13 under.
Baker birdied the 3rd, 4th and 6th but dropped shots at the 5th and 8th – his only bogeys of the week at Constance Belle Mare Plage – before picking up three consecutive shots from the 13th and then at the last.
Australian Fowler birdied the 6th on an otherwise quiet front nine but then gained shots at the 12th, 14th, 17th and 18th as he closed with a 68. Sjoland, from Sweden, dropped just one stroke, at the 15th, as he ended his first season on the Legends Tour in style and pipped Scotland’s Greig Hutcheon to the Barry Lane Rookie of the Year title.