Harding hopes to make a clean cut from the past at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open

Tue 27 Nov 2018

Harding hopes to make a clean cut from the past at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open

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Beau Champ, Mauritius, November 27: Justin Harding of South Africa is banking on his blistering form this season to reverse his fortunes at the €1 million (approximately US$1.14 million) AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open which tees off on Thursday.

The 32-year-old failed to make the cut at the Mauritius Open in the last three editions of the tournament, but based on how he has been faring on the Asian Tour, Harding is confident that the outcome will be different this year when the event is hosted at the Four Seasons Golf Club, Mauritius at Anahita.

The South African has been resplendent in 2018, having notched five top-10s including two victories in his last nine starts on the Asian Tour. He is placed third on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings and he is the highest-ranked player in the field.

Like Harding, Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva and Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski have made their career breakthrough on the Asian Tour this year.

Adilson Da Silva of Brazil

Da Silva had a wretched start to the season, as he did not progress to the weekend rounds in his first six tournaments. However, his season turned around in a big way when he emerged victorious in Chinese Taipei two months ago.

Lifted by his recent victory, the Brazilian is raring to bring his momentum to Mauritius.

Kokocinski was making significant headway on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) at the start of this year. He seized his chances when he was given the opportunity to play an Asian Tour event in Bangladesh and went on to win the tournament by three shots.

The Swede has admitted that his game has not been up to scratch since his victory, but he feels that he is slowly rediscovering the form and he hopes for another breakthrough at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

Did you know:

  • Justin Harding received an invitation to play at the Indonesia Open by virtue of his good form on the Sunshine Tour. He went on to win the tournament and took up Asian Tour membership.
  • A fortnight later, he won the Royal Cup, becoming the first player on Tour to win twice in his first two starts in Asia. 
  • In addition to two victories, Harding has also notched three top-10s this season.  He was second at the Asia Pacific Diamond Cup, tied-fourth at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and 10th at the Yeangder TPC.
  • Adilson Da Silva is the first Brazilian to win on the Asian Tour.
  • Before his win in Chinese Taipei, Da Silva has made only three cuts in 11 starts this season. He started the season with six consecutive missed cuts before claiming a tied-ninth place result at the Asia Pacific Diamond Cup
  • Da Silva was given the honour of striking the first tee shot at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro when golf made a return into the programme after 112 years.
  • Malcolm Kokocinski was leading the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit before his victory at the Bangladesh Open this year.
  • He is the second Swede to win on the Asian Tour this season after Alexander Bjork at the Volvo China Open
  • Kokocinski’s best finish on the Asian Tour, prior to his breakthrough win, came at the 2016 Shinhan Donghae Open where he came in tied-fourth.

Players’ Quotes

Justin Hardin (Rsa)

Anahita is very wind dependent. The last time I played there, the winds were blowing at 65km/h and I was nearly blown off the golf course! It’s a long golf course and if the wind picks up, it will be very challenging.

It’s a nice week; you get hosted very nicely and it’s an awesome resort. It’s almost like a reward getting into the event. We always look forward to playing in Mauritius.

The guys on the Sunshine Tour will be gunning for my number one spot on the Order of Merit and it’s very important that I play well here. It’s an added bonus that the event is also sanctioned by the Asian Tour so I’ll also improve my position on the Habitat for Humanity Standings if I do well.

[When asked about his happiest memories in Mauritius] It’s funny you asked that because I missed the cut there for the past three years! I hope to bring this year’s performances with me to Mauritius. The winds blew a country mile previously and it was hard work for me. With a bit of luck, it won’t get too bad. I have a couple of things to work on before I get but nevertheless, it’s an awesome event and I’m looking forward to it.

Adilson Da Silva (Bra)

I look forward to playing in Mauritius. The last time I played on Anahita was in 2016. The wind was blowing the whole week, which was actually nice in my opinion. The conditions make you think about your tee shots. It’s a long course and you need to keep the ball in play. Mauritius is a beautiful place to go and a great golf destination.

It’s great to be the first Brazilian to win on Tour and I hope to win again soon. We’re going into final stretch of the season; I’m telling myself to take it one shot at a time and to stay patient. Sometimes, there’s a tendency to get ahead of yourself.

Malcolm Kokocinski (Swe)

This will be my first year in Mauritius and I’m very excited to have to chance to compete here. I haven’t played at the Anahita before but I’ve heard from other players that the course is very beautiful and it gets tricky when the wind picks up.

Winning on Tour has been brilliant so far. I can get to play on many new courses, including the one here at the Mauritius Open. I feel like I’m learning more, and I want to learn as much as possible in preparation for next year and beyond.

I have to admit that I haven’t been playing well after the win in Bangladesh. I’ve struggled a bit but I’ve been playing better recently. I’ll keep practising and stay patient.

Ends.

About Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), Habitat for Humanity (Official Sustainable Development Partner), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist and FootJoy (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.