Young guns take aim at Mauritius title

Mon 27 Apr 2015

Young guns take aim at Mauritius title

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Mauritius, April 27: Asia’s starlets will be on parade at the inaugural AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open next week as they aim to make an impact at the historic tournament on the world-renowned holiday isle.
Tri-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, European Tour and Asian Tour – the first time the three major tours have come together for an event – the €1 million (approximately US$1.1 million) tournament will see the likes of Korea’s Seukhyun Baek and Jeunghun Wang, Jazz Janewattananond and Thanyakon Khrongpha of Thailand, Filipino Miguel Tabuena and Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera battling for their maiden win at the Heritage Golf Club from May 7-10.
The young guns have been touted as rising stars on the Asian Tour following outstanding performances in recent times. Along with India’s Rashid Khan, who was a double winner last season and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who won in China two weeks ago, the region’s challenge will truly be well represented.
Baek, 24, finished 16th on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit last season, posting three top-five finishes and coming close to a maiden title before settling for second place at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters in 2014.
Based in Bangkok, Baek, who speaks fluent Thai and English, is determined to land a first title on the region’s premier Tour this season but he will not be putting pressure on himself to break the duck.
“I don’t want to think about it. When I think about winning, I never play good. I want to concentrate on playing my golf,” said Baek.
The slightly-built Tabuena is highly rated after bursting into prominence as a 16-year-old amateur when he earned his Asian Tour card from Qualifying School in 2011. The likable Filipino produced his best year last season, finishing 37th on the rankings.
He came close a breakthrough victory, missing a winning putt on the 72nd hole before losing in a play-off to Thailand’s Prom Meesawat at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Chinese Taipei.
“I’ve been knocking on the door so I have to stay patient. If I keep playing the way I’ve been playing, then the win will eventually come,” said Tabuena.
Khan was one of the success stories in 2014 when he won twice at the SAIL-SBI Open on home soil and Chiangmai Golf Classic where he beat an elite field which included Major winners Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner.
The slender 24-year-old also notched three other top-10s to finish an impressive 10th on the final 2014 Order of Merit.
“I was really happy with last season. I won two tournaments and I’m now a multiple winner which feels great. I would like to win more tournaments, like what I did in 2014. Maybe win three tournaments in 2015!,” he said.
Golf fans in Mauritius will also have the opportunity to watch Thanyakon, who was disappointed to finish second twice last year in Chiangmai and Jakarta. He has been tipped by Irishman Padraig Harrington, who rallied late to beat the Thai in the Indonesia Open last November, to become a star.
“He is really impressive. He looks like a player to watch for in the future,” Harrington said of the young Thai.
The 19-year-old Wang will also be gunning for glory at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. Last year, he did not miss a single cut and posted four top-10s and five top-20 performances to end the year in 15th place on the Merit list. He finished top-15 at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters last weekend.
Perera, Sri Lanka’s lone representative on the Asian Tour, will also be hoping to shine at the Heritage Golf Club where a third place finish at the Hero Indian Open in February will provide the confidence for him to seek a first Asian Tour victory.
Ends
Note to Editors
• The tournament will be played at the Heritage Golf Cub on Domaine de Bel Ombre, voted one of the Top 10 golf courses in Africa, according to global news broadcaster CNN. The course was designed by Peter Matkovich, who has also presided over the construction of 20 top-ranked golf courses on the continent, such as Arabella Golf Club in South Africa, and Borrowdale Brooke Golf Club in Zimbabwe.
• This 27-hole facility which includes an 18-hole par-72 championship layout and a nine hole short course, is not only set in the middle of stunning natural scenery and dotted with small lakes and streams, but also possesses exceptional infrastructure and services.
For more information on the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open:
http://afrasiabankmauritiusopen.com/