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2023 Mauritius Open Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 11 Dec 2023

There are times in my life when I wish that I had worked harder at my game. This week is such as example. The DP World Tour’s final event of 2023 is the Mauritius Open.

Just imagine going to this part of the world and being paid for the privilege. And with the tournament being held at the fag-end of the year, most of the tour’s biggest stars have their feet up, getting ready for Christmas before it all starts again in January.

And that means some of the lesser lights get an opportunity to win a tournament and gain a much sought-after two year exemption.

Twelve months ago, Frenchman Antoine Rozner claimed his third DP World Tour title here. He posted a final round 67 and as a result climbed to 19 under par for the tournament. This was enough for a four-shot win over Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, who finished second on his own, with Julian Brun in third place on 12 under.

Rozner is back to defend his title and will face stiff opposition from a field that includes fellow Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, Guido Migliozzi, Marcel Siem, Louis Oosthuizen, Wilco Nienaber, Dylan Frittelli and a born-again Matteo Manaserro.

La Reserve Golf Links

Pavon enjoyed a sensational conclusion to the 2022-23 season, winning the Open de Espana the week after finishing tied sixth at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

He then finished tied ninth at the Andalucia Masters, tied 15th at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and tied fifth at the DP World Tour Championship to end the year inside the top 100 in the world.

Pavon turned professional in 2013 and won his first titles on the Alps Tour in 2014 and 2015. He took part in Qualifying School Final Stage and earned a European Challenge Tour card for 2016.

He finished sixth on the 2016 Challenge Tour Rankings, finishing runner-up three times, to earn a place on the DP World Tour the following year.

Pavon has maintained his place on the DP World Tour since and earned his maiden victory in his 185th start at the Open de Espana, going wire-to-wire as he won by four strokes in Madrid.

Manaserro is a man who has experienced the highs and lows golf has to offer. At the tender age of 16 he became the youngest winner of the Amateur Championship in 2009 before taking the silver medal for low amateur in the 2009 Open Championship.

He broke another record in April 2010 when he became the youngest player to make the cut at the Masters Tournament, where he finished in a tie for 36th place - the best performance by a European amateur for 73 years.

He turned professional and became the youngest winner in European Tour history with victory in the 2010 Castello Masters at 17 years and 188 days. He went on to win four titles by the age of 20, including the 2013 BMW PGA Championship.

But he then went in search of extra distance and lost his game - and his tour card.

He returned to the Challenge Tour in 2023 and, after a near-10-year drought, returned to the winners’ circle, claiming both the Copenhagen Challenge and the Italian Challenge Open as he regained his full playing rights.

Most encouraging of all, he finished in a tie for fifth place at the South African Open in only his second start in 2023-24 season. There are a lot of people pulling for the Iftalian who, incredibly, is still only 30 years of age.

The Mauritius Open has become something of a proving ground. Every previous winner is now a multiple winner on the DP World Tour, while some have also gone on to win on the PGA Tour.

Danish professional Rasmus Hojgaard made his DP World Tour breakthrough when he won the 2019 version, becoming the third youngest winner in DP World Tour history after Manassero and Danny Lee, and in just his fifth start on the tour. He has this far gone on to claim a further three DP World Tour titles.

Rozner lost a playoff to Hojgaard in 2019 when he was still competing on the Challenge Tour. He returned in 2022 to win. The victory in Mauritius marked a personal record of Rozner having won a tournament every year for three years in succession since earning his DP World Tour card in 2020.

South African Dylan Frittelli’s victory in 2017 was his second DP World Tour title. It was a win that lifted him to just outside the top 50 world rankings, and it put him on a path to winning on the PGA Tour a year later in the John Deere Classic and challenging in the majors with a finish of tied fifth in The Masters in 2020 and fifth in The Open in 2021.

American Kurt Kitayama claimed his maiden DP World Tour title here in 2018 and later won the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour.

Tournament Winners:

It was won in 2015 by George Coetzee, in 2016 by Jeunghan Wang, in 2018 by Dylan Frittelli, in 2019 by Kurt Kitayama, in 2020 by Rasmus Hojgaard and last year by Antoine Rozner.

The Course:

La Reserve Golf Links was designed by Louis Oosthuizen and and Peter Matkovich. It is a par 72 measuring 7,111 yards and feature stunning views of the Indian Ocean on every hole. It is a dramatic links with plenty of natural sand dunes, thick rough, lots of bunkers and undulating greens. If the wind blows it could be a real challenge.

Form Guide:

Matthieu Pavon is certain to start the week as a warm favourite after the superb finish he enjoyed to the 2022-23 season. He has a superb short game and can shape the ball, which will be essential if the wind blows.

To Win:

Matthieu Pavon. A class act

Each Way:

Matteo Manaserro, Good to see him back where he belongs

Each Way:

Antoine Rozner. Gritty Frenchman

Five to Follow:

Matthieu Pavon. Wonderful touch around the greens

Matteo Manaserro. Has been through some incredible highs and lows

Antoine Rozner. Superb ball striker

Louis Oosthuizen. Sweet swinger

Dylan Frittelli. Hits the ball miles 

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Tags: european tour dp world tour

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