The AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, the first golf tournament to be triple-sanctioned by the European, Asian and Sunshine Tours, was held at the Heritage Golf Club once again in early December 2019. Here’s a look at the highlights of the event, which is one of the most important dates in the Mauritian golfing calendar.
Some of the Ryder Cup’s best-known players gathered on the greens of the Heritage Golf Club for the 5th edition of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open (ABMO). As one of the most anticipated events in the golfing calendar, the tournament consistently brings together players and fans from all over the world.
Rasmus Højgaard, winner of the tournament
At only 18 years of age, Rasmus Højgaard triumphed in the ABMO tournament at the Heritage Golf Club on Sunday 8th December. After a tough battle, and following a memorable Eagle, the young Dane finally won his first professional title during the third play-off. This makes Højgaard the third-youngest winner in the history of the European Tour after Matteo Manassero and Danny Lee, eclipsing his fellow Dane Thomas Bjørn. His prize includes a lifetime Diamond Membership at the future Heritage Bel Ombre flagship course, La Réserve Golf Course.
A competition focussed on the environment
With the support of the Rogers Group, which sponsored the event, Heritage Resorts chose to place environmental responsibility at the heart of this competition. The group’s hotels is committed to protecting our natural heritage and to environmentally responsible development; so it was only natural for the tournament to reflect these concerns.
Several sustainable initiatives were implemented this year. Surplus food was picked up by the FoodWise social enterprise and distributed to disadvantaged families. Bamboo cutlery was used throughout the event, and the use of single-use plastic was banned, from suppliers to plate. Three “fish bins” were placed along the course and in the tournament village; these educational tools were used to encourage recycling while raising awareness of the impact of plastic on our oceans. Thanks to the bins, more than 350kg of plastic was collected throughout the week.
A tournament that delights the professionals
From Belgian player Nicolas Colsaerts to Shubhankar Sharma from India, the players made it clear how much they enjoy playing the ABMO. Whether they were used to the Mauritian sun or not, the players were delighted by the course’s technical elements, the event’s scale, and the beauty of the Mauritian landscape!
Nicolas Colsaerts, who has been coming to Mauritius regularly for the past twenty years, describes the island as an increasingly popular golf destination – something that the presence of so many top professionals at the ABMO confirms. In addition to its well-known courses, the island’s beautiful setting is a draw, allowing golfers to relax by the sea after a game.
Romain Langasque, Heritage Resorts’ French golf ambassador, is also a fan of the ABMO: “The first time I played here two years ago, I finished third,” he says. “This competition is second to none. It’s one of the biggest tournaments of the year, and it allows me to enjoy both the course and the beach.”
Langasque’s point of view is shared by the other French golfers who took part in this year’s tournament. Thanks no doubt to the excellent playing conditions, no fewer than three Frenchmen placed in the event’s top ten. Benjamin Hébert found himself within a point of the play-offs; Robin Sciot Siegrist finished eighth after an incredible start (birdie – eagle – birdie); while Julien Guerrier was hard on his heels in ninth place and Matthieu Pavon from Bordeaux followed in 17th place, ending the tournament with a very positive performance. With these kinds of results, perhaps a Frenchman will claim the trophy at the 2020 ABMO!
Promoting Mauritius as a destination
According to Sanjiv Bhasin, CEO of AfrAsia Bank (one of the tournament’s major sponsors), the event strengthens Mauritius’ reputation and promotes the country as a destination not only to golf fans, but also to a wider audience.
The tournament was broadcast to over 350 million households in 163 countries. With its technical courses and idyllic landscapes, Heritage Bel Ombre is the stuff of dreams for golfers and holidaymakers all over the world!
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