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George Coetzee: “The course obviously treated me well”

The South African, George Coetzee, lifted the trophy of the maiden edition of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Resorts after a nerve-racking play-off win over Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen. He shared his feelings with PRESENCE shortly after the stunning finale.

George Coetzee, Winner, 2015 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Resorts
photos : deeneshen sabapathee | afrasia bank mauritius open 2015

Was this your first time in Mauritius?

Yes, it was my first time here. Mauritius is a lovely place – I loved playing golf here and had lots of fun. It just gives you a nice vibe. The Heritage Golf Club has a resort feel but it also has a tough championship feel.

So, after playing the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship, it was worth travelling all the way from San Francisco to take part in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Resorts?

Yes, definitely. Even if I hadn't won, it was great for me and my girlfriend to be able to spend a week here. It’s just a very enjoyable place and obviously to top it off by winning the trophy makes it all the more worth it.

The Heritage Golf Club course certainly seemed to suit you…

The course is good and obviously treated me well. I think the greens were probably the key ingredient for me this week. I didn’t hit the ball that well and kind of scrambled around but, every time I had a look at a putt, I felt like I knew exactly where to hit it. I think I missed four putts that I probably shouldn’t have the whole week, which is a pretty good stat for an event. Reunion Island can also provide interesting examples for Mauritius, particularly solar photovoltaic panels and systems. Or there is combining various forms of energy with electricity storage, which is what is done in a remarkable way via Corsica’s MYRTE platform. 3,500 square metre solar panels furnish electricity for the electrolysis of water into oxygen and hydrogen. At night, the hydrogen (which is in fact solar energy conserved) is used in a fuel cell to provide 3,500 homes with electricity. Mauritius should take inspiration from such hybrid projects which combine intermittent forms of energy and storage methods in a systematic way.

How does the course compare with the ones you’re used to playing on the Sunshine and the European Tours?

You can’t compare. I get asked the question quite often but obviously, being an island resort with a lot of humidity, you have to build a different kind of golf course. But I think they’ve done a great job here.

How did you approach the play-off?

My hitting was a bit average for most of the week but, when I got into the play-off, it seemed to click and I started hitting the ball nicely. It was the most comfortable I’d felt all week and it was nice to get into the play-off and feel that way because that’s usually when the nerves start kicking in.

Given you won the 2014 Joburg Open and the Tshwane Open in March this year, you seem to enjoy co-sanctioned events…

Obviously, you can’t just go out and win a major. You have to build up to the big events and I feel that I’m doing it the right way at the moment.

Will you promise to come back next year?

No promises, but I’ll try. If I windsurf too much, then you never know…

Third win in co-sanctioned events

Born in Pretoria, George Coetzee started playing golf at the age of ten and turned professional in 2007. He claimed his first win in his rookie season on the Sunshine Tour and earned a European Tour card three years later. The 28-year-old South African professional golfer won his first two European Tour titles in co-sanctioned events, on the Sunshine Tour in the Joburg Open in February 2014 and the Tshwane Open in March 2015, both in South Africa. He has moved up the PGA ladder from 63rd place to 52nd after his victory in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Resorts.

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