Antoine Rozner believes he sent a clear message to the rest of the field on Thursday about defending his AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open title.
The Frenchman opened with an incredible course record 10-under-par 62 to lead the first round by one stroke at the new La Réserve Golf Links.
“I think they’ve seen it won’t be easy to take this from me,” the Frenchman said of any challenge to his title.
It was a phenomenal round of golf that immediately became the first course record in the first championship round since this golf course opened shortly ahead of this week’s Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned event. It was also the lowest round of golf in a tournament for the French professional.
“I couldn’t dream of a better start. I was really hot and shot seven under on the back nine. That was unbelievable. I didn’t miss a single shot and holed everything,” said Rozner, who even holed a bunker shot for eagle on 18 to set the clubhouse target in the morning.
After teeing off on the 10th and climbing to 11 under par with four holes to play, it was a round Rozner thought would end with a magical 59.
“Everything went my way. I birdied holes 1, 2 and 3 and after the birdie at the 5th I really started thinking about shooting 59, but unfortunately the bad tee shot on the 6th cost me that magic number,” he said after a bogey there, which was followed by a birdie on 8 and another bogey on the 9th.
His nearest challenger is England’s Paul Waring who birdied his final two holes for a 63 in the tougher afternoon conditions of wind and rain.
“It’s a little bit unexpected because I didn’t see the golf course until Wednesday because we were delayed getting here,” he said. “I just walked the golf course on Wednesday and I liked the look of it, then I played great today. I saw Antoine go really deep in the morning so I knew there was a low one out there.”
Young South African Jayden Schaper is currently third following a round of seven-under-par 65 which once again puts him in contention on this Opening Swing on the DP World Tour.
“I played with co-designer Peter Matkovich in the pro-am, and my home course of Ebotse Links is also designed by him. His courses really suit my game,” said Schaper.
But the man looking to become the first player to successfully defend his Mauritius Open title and who last year won the tournament by a record five strokes is looking determined to make his mark on this year’s event as well.
“It’s a good course and it will be a nice week. There is lot of golf to be played and I’m really pleased with my start,” he said.
Photo: Sunshine Tour