David Frost pulls off magnificent ending to Mauritius Commercial Bank Open

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DavidFrostwins

David Frost wins

David Frost conjured a magnificent eagle three on the 18th hole to force the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open into a play-off where the South African defeated England’s Roger Chapman at the second extra hole.

After a thrilling final round that had seen Chapman overhaul a four shot deficit and take a two shot lead down the final hole, Frost saved his best till last with a brilliant drive followed by a sublime three iron to 15 feet that he rolled home for eagle and a final round score of three under par 69.

With Chapman making a par five on the last to sign for a seven under 65, it meant both men finished locked together on 13 under for the tournament, and forced them back to the 18th tee to slug it out in a sudden-death format.

Two perfect drives were followed by two approaches that found the fringes of the green – Chapman was pin high to the right and Frost just off the back of the putting surfaces. Two fine chips to four feet were then followed by solid putts to force the play-off back to the 18th tee once again.

Chapman then hit his only bad shot of what had been an inspired final round, tugging his drive into the deep left rough. The Englishman was fortunate to get a free drop from a nearby wall but his luck was instantly snatched away as his second shot struck a tree and stayed in the rough, forcing him to play out of the heavy stuff left-handed.

After watching Chapman’s drive find trouble, Frost elected a three wood off the tee, from where he laid up to 50 yards short of the green. Chapman then hit a fine rescue towards the target but ran out of green and found the sand. His opponent made no mistake with his third shot, leaving it 15 feet short and when Chapman couldn’t hole his bunker shot Frost took his two putts to secure the title.

“It was a great final round and a great victory for me because when I was standing on the 18th tee two shots back I didn’t think I had any chance,” admitted Frost who picks up €42,000 for picking up the Mauritius Commercial Bank Trophy and moves to fifth on the 2011 Senior Tour Order of Merit.

“Roger had made a great birdie putt on 17 so I didn’t give myself much hope. Then I saw him take three wood and thought he was playing for a par so I had one chance to make eagle.

“Thankfully I hit a good drive and a great three iron to set-up a makeable putt which I finally made after missing so many great chances throughout the day. I’m delighted to have won here – it is another great experience in my life that I will never forget. I have been very privileged to play and win all over the world and this is another chapter for me.”

For Chapman, his defeat brought a bitter end to what has been a truly emotive week. The Englishman lost his lifelong friend, mentor and coach, George Will, last Monday and his performance was certainly inspired by the memory of one of golf’s great men.

Given those circumstances, a play-off defeat was certainly a cruel end to a day in which the classy Englishman had performed with the kind courage, determination and skill that would have made Will not only a satisfied coach, but, more importantly, a proud friend.

“I wanted to do it for George but it wasn’t meant to be,” said Chapman after the play-off. “I was very emotional out there today – in fact I have been emotional all week – and I didn’t put a foot wrong during regulation play. But you have to take your hat off to David, he made that eagle on the last when he absolutely had to and then I made the mistake in the play-off so you have to say the best man won.”

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Flurry of birdies puts Wolstenholme into lead at the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open

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GaryWolstenholme

Gary Wolstenholme

Gary Wolstenholme produced a mesmerising finish of four birdies on the spin to charge into a one stroke lead over David Merriman and Sam Torrance at the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open.

The Englishman, who is fast becoming a dominant force on the European Senior Tour having won once and registered two third place finishes in just eight appearances since joining the Tour, birdied home from the 15th hole of the demanding Legends Course at the stunning Constance Belle Mare Plage Resort to establish a one stroke advantage over Merriman and Torrance after round one.

“I am really pleased with that,” said Wolstenholme.”I actually felt that the round was getting away from me because I had made such a strong start and then got a little careless in the middle of the round. But just as I was thinking that I managed to refocus and finished with four birdies in a row which is a very good return considering the difficulty of this golf course.”

Wolstenholme turned professional earlier this year after a decorated amateur career during which he became England’s most capped player and he has taken to the professional game with aplomb.

“I am really looking forward to this new season, it is a very exciting time for me and my career. I look at the schedule for next year and then also hear of where we could be potentially playing and it is just a great opportunity for myself and the rest of the Senior Tour guys to play golf in some fantastic destinations.

“I am playing well but I don’t really set my expectations too high in respect of the year ahead – I am not really a goal-setter, I just hope to stay fit and well and try to enjoy this new adventure that I am on. If I do that then I am sure I can get a few good results along the way.”

Merriman will have pleased his growing fanbase on Facebook with a strong start to the week with five birdies and just the one dropped shot.

He said: “I missed a few short birdie putts early in the round and was starting to think that it was going to be one of those days and all of a sudden I started holing a few and picked up a few shots and I was off and running.

“It was satisfying to make the putts because I have been putting pretty well recently and have managed to get myself into that place where you believe that you can hole every putt you look at. You don’t get that too often when you are playing golf so to have that little extra layer of confidence really gives you an edge.”

Merriman drew inspiration from an article he read on the plane on his flight over to the honeymoon island of Mauritius.

“I coach myself which is great when things are going well but you do get moments when you can lose a few things in the swing and you just have to hit the range and pump the range balls until you find something.

“I actually took a little bit of inspiration from an article I was reading on the plane over here. It was a Tom Watson interview and there was a quote that really stuck in my mind. He said: ‘Sometimes you just have to stay on the range ‘till you find it…’ That really struck a chord with me and you just have to look at Tom’s swing to know that he still puts the work in – no matter who you are you still have to work at it if you want to compete.”
Torrance is also right in the hunt after a four under par 68, picking up four shots in his last five holes.

“The finish was very satisfying – to make those birdies coming home was a nice way to finish the round because I really played beautifully today,” said the Scot.

“I have been playing well for the last few tournaments now, and the game has been getting better and better over the last couple of months so it is definitely on the way back.

“Mauritius is a beautiful place and I always enjoy coming here. It might be a bit hot for golf at some points – it was extremely humid today – but you just have to look around to see the natural beauty of the place.”

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