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In their own words


Shot an eagle on the 17th during the ProAm

The pros were dreaming of it; the Mauritian amateur, Reshad Purdasy, managed to do it. Had he been amongst the pros, he would have won the US$ 1 million villa offered by Villas Valriche to the first to have shot an eagle on the par-4 17th. Taking part in the ProAm competition that preceded the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Resorts, he succeeded in reaching the hole of the 423-metre 17th in just two shots. Nonetheless, he’s delighted. “The 17th hole is not an easy one to negotiate, for you are constantly playing against the wind. Achieving an eagle in these conditions is absolutely fantastic. It was surely the hand of God.” However, Reshad didn't leave empty-handed. Villas Valriche offered him a free stay in one of their villas!


Promising young golfer

The youngest player in history, at the age of 14 years and 5 months, to have taken part in a Grand Slam event, Guan Tian-Lang spoke of his happiness in having participated in the first tri-sanctioned tournament. “It was a particularly special event in a beautiful setting, with good players from three different golfing tours.” Having played for the first time in his young career on the Heritage Golf Club course, the 16-year-old Chinese prodigy confided, “The course is very pleasant and well-designed. I've played on quite a few courses around the world and I would liken it to those in South Asia.” y


Ambassador for the tournament

French golfer Thomas Levet is proud to have been appointed an ambassador for the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Resorts. “It’s easy for an ambassador to talk about a tournament which is well run, in a superb setting, and with the standard of hotels and the warm welcome found in Mauritius. I set out on the Tour in 1988 and I’ve seen many new tournaments. Here, everything is well arranged – the size of the club house, the number of people helping out and the golfers’ practice area. For a first tournament, it’s been a great success! It’s a perfect course for this level of golfers. To have a course of this quality demands a phenomenal amount of work. I think that you have the best quality island golf in the world!” He also highlighted the involvement of the three tours in the organisation of the tournament. “It shows that they can organise things well together. It may be a start to seeing golf tours become global.”

Ludovic Bax de Keating

Mauritian participant in the tournament

The local lad was in seventh heaven. “As the first Mauritian to take part in such a competition, I received tremendous support from start to finish. It was a very special occasion for me and a great experience!” Nonetheless, as a perfectionist, Ludovic Bax de Keating reckons he “could have done better”. But that was what it was all about, he adds, “To learn to play in front of so many people and to learn to play alongside top golfers.” The young Mauritian now feels he understands better what his next step needs to be. “I shall try very hard to join one of the major tours in the coming years. I’m very grateful to the Heritage Golf Club, my parents, my friends and all those who lent me their support. They inspire me to go further.”


CEO of the Asian Tour

“The feedback from the players has been very encouraging and complimentary on the hospitality, the staging and the tournament presentation of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. None of this would have been possible without the patronage of Rogers and the kind hospitality offered through Heritage Resorts in particular,” says the CEO of the Asian Tour, Mike Kerr. He adds that, “The response from the public in general, at the Heritage Golf Club, at the formal functions surrounding the tournament and from those watching the television coverage across the globe, has also been very positive, which is a testament to the hard work and partnership of all involved.” Mike Kerr also says that he looks forward to returning for the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open next year. “I am confident that with the support of Rogers, along with AfrAsia Bank, the Sunshine Tour, the European Tour and all our other partners, the tournament will break new ground and further establish itself as a premium event on the schedules of the three Tours and in World Golf.”


COO of the European Tour

“I would like to congratulate the Heritage Golf Club, the organisers and Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort for staging a superb tournament in their inaugural year,” says the Chief Operating Officer of the European Tour. “Many sponsors and suppliers from across the beautiful island have contributed magnificently in developing the tournament. It is a superb addition to the European Tour schedule,” adds Keith Waters.


A historic hole-in-one at No. 9

Javier Colomo was as surprised as the spectators around the 9th hole when he realised that he had shot a hole-in-one, the first on a par-4 in the history of the European Tour, on the second day of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. “It was the first time I've played here. The golf course is amazing and the place is unbelievable. Even if I didn't play my best golf, we enjoyed the week.” His exploit meant he won a five-night stay at Heritage Resorts, with air tickets provided by Air Mauritius. “I will be happy to come back here, although I'll have to check my golfing schedule to work out when it will be possible.” Whatever else happens, the 31-year-old Spaniard has every intention of taking part in next year's tournament.


Spanish golfer

“It’s nothing short of amazing to have had the chance to compete on such a great course, one in such good condition, and staying at possibly one of the best resorts in the world, in a spot that did nothing but blow our minds every single day!” The Spaniard, Pablo Martin Benavides, who finished 51st in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Resorts, couldn’t speak highly enough of his experiences during the tournament. He added, “Every morning when I woke up, I would call my wife who was back in Sweden to tell her that we should move to Mauritius. I’ve stayed in some great resorts but the hospitality of Mauritians makes you feel welcome like nowhere else. We just found the spot for our next family holiday; we will certainly be back to your wonderful island!”


First women director of a men's tournament

Pauli van Meersbergen has been involved in golf since 1997 and knows Mauritius having previously been here on holiday. “It’s obviously a huge honour and getting the opportunity to come to Mauritius is just a dream come true. Despite my twenty years' experience, there’s a lot to learn from the European and Asian tours and everything’s gone very well.” She’s the first woman to have run a men’s tournament on the scale of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. Born in South Africa, her love of golf dates back to when she was 19. She had family living in Germany who paid for her first lessons. She’s been working for the Sunshine Tour for the last six years and spends about six months of the year on the Ladies European Tour. As tournament director, she was very impressed. “The facilities are fantastic and we’ve had so much help from the Mauritian people. The players can’t stop talking about it, they’ve loved being here.”

Anton de Waal

Villas Valriche’s CEO and member of the ProAm winning team

The ProAm was made up of teams of five players – four amateurs and a professional – for a fun day of golf. Anton de Waal, one of the members of the winning team, was delighted by it all. “It was fantastic to have the opportunity to play alongside such top-level professionals! We’re a small band of golfing enthusiasts – real amateurs – and we spent a day with a real professional such as Nick Dougherty. We play golf for such magic moments. As for the pros, they took the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the course, make notes and so on.” More generally, Anton de Waal was happy to see how various bodies came together and managed to make a success of organising the event. “I’m proud of the tournament’s success!”


Top player on the Asian Tour

Considered to be one of the favourites for the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Resorts and winner last April of the Shenzhen International in China, Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat had to retire from the tournament after the first day as he was suffering from neck pain. “I was a bit unlucky. I had a bad stiff neck and I couldn’t hit the ball or execute my swing properly.” He considers the Heritage Golf Club course well up to championship standard and that it's “a nice and tough course”. He's also been impressed by what has been his first visit to Mauritius. “It was a new experience and it’s really great to be here in Mauritius. We have such a nice hotel and island. I’ve been out with my fiancée to see the dolphins and there are a lot interesting things to do in Mauritius.”

Jana Stefánková

Villas Valriche’s Sales Representative for Central Europe

Jana Stefankova was delighted to have been present for the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Resorts. She is sure that the event will attract more golfers to Mauritius. “Golf is very popular in East and Central Europe. However, in those regions, you can only play from May to September, which is why more and more Czechs and Poles are becoming interested in places like Mauritius. Here you can buy a second home in a location that is both prestigious and safe. Such a lifestyle is a real option for them.” Villas Valriche’s representative in Central Europe adds, “We’re pioneers in this market and I’m sure that within the next couple of years we’ll see results. Meanwhile, I’ve been very impressed by the way Bel Ombre has been integrated into the surrounding countryside.” y

photos : deneeshen sabapathee

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