The DP World Tour heads to the Indian Ocean for the final event of 2023 this week when the Mauritius Open takes place to close out what is now scheduled as the opening swing of the new campaign.
This tournament is one which is growing in prominence but it is one which means a lot to Antoine Rozner who prevailed in it a year ago. He is back to attempt to defend the title but he’ll try and do it on a different track to the one which he won on.
2022 – Antoine Rozner
2019 – Rasmus Hojgaard
2018 – Kurt Kitayama
2017 – Dylan Frittelli
2016 – Jeunghun Wang
2015 – George Coetzee
We are next door to one of the former hosts of this competition this week as the La Reserve Golf Links will stage the tournament. As the name would suggest the design of this track is a traditional links even though this part of the world isn’t true links terrain. The course is a par 72 which measures 7,111 yards and is fairly new having been built up over the course of the year. It hosts professional golf for the first time this week.
The layout is said to encourage familiar links play which means wide fairways which are full of undulations which allow the ball to run. Pot bunkers are in place to gather up the wayward shots and with the Indian Ocean in the backdrop the breeze is going to act as the defence for the track. Scoring might be slightly lower this week than normal because players will probably need a spin to work out the ways around and things. As ever with links golf, have players who can control the flight of their ball and good strategic golfers high up on your shortlist.
While this tournament is gaining in profile all the time, it has fallen in a part of the calendar where there is no interest in the very biggest names teeing it up this close to Christmas ahead of some big events worldwide in January and February. That means we only have one player in the top 100 in the world rankings teeing it up this week. That is Matthieu Pavon although Louis Oosthuizen would obviously be in that bracket were it not for him now playing on the LIV Golf scene.
Three of the top 10 players on the fledgling Race to Dubai standings are teeing it up this week. Darren Fichardt sits fourth in the early part of the campaign while Renato Paratore is fifth. The other member of the top 10 is Jayden Schaper. Jacques Kruyswijk and Laurie Canter are the other players in the top 20 in those standings who have a tee time this week. Dylan Frittelli is a former champion in the field looking to regain the title, while the current champion Antoine Rozner is here too.
Louis Oosthuizen finally got over the line at Leopard Creek last week and he is 15/2 on the best prices to add the Mauritius Open to the Alfred Dunhill Championship. He is playing on a course which he had a hand in the design of so you would imagine that would give him some sort of advantage. The other advantage he has on many in the field is he is extremely comfortable on a links course and having previously won The Open we know he can more than hold his own on them. He is the one to beat but there isn’t a huge amount of juice in the price really.
Two Frenchmen come next in the betting at 12/1. They are Matthieu Pavon and the defending champion Antoine Rozner. Regular readers will know I’m no fan of defending champions and I’m certainly not interested at 12/1 even allowing for the fact that Rozner is a good player. Pavon won the Open de Espana two months ago when he shot -23 and he was fifth on a monster track in an elite field at the DP World Tour Championship last month so he should be confident especially as he has two top fives in this tournament in the past.
Jayden Schaper is 22/1 to win this title. He has started the new season very strongly with the trio of events in South Africa all yielding a top 10 finish but if you were being critical he hasn’t been any better than the T5 he managed at the SA Open. The South African was in the top 10 in this tournament last year and while this will be different because of the layout of the track but with everyone looking at the course for the first time this week form feels a level above its normal importance and Schaper is full of that.
There isn’t too many in the field this week who will know this course before they arrive but Marcel Siem is one who does as this is his home course after he moved to this part of the world at the beginning of 2023 and that does feel like a significant advantage here. If he was bang out of form and in the low part of his game it might not be but the German is the fourth highest ranked player in the field in the world rankings. Siem won the Indian Open back in February and he arrives at this tournament with three top 20 finishes in his last five starts and when you combine that with the knowledge he has of the course I think he could be the one to beat here.
Whenever a links course is on the horizon my attention is always swayed towards Matthew Southgate whose best results tend to come when that is the test in front of them. He has twice finished second in the Dunhill Links Championship, including the latest renewal of that event, he has a top six finish at The Open, a top 10 at the Scottish Open and various other bits and pieces which suggest that the nuanced style of links golf brings out the best of his game so even though he isn’t in great form that certainly appeals. He is still the fifth highest ranked player in the field and assuming he takes to the test I think he’ll have a good week.
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Brandon Stone but he has got back on the DP World Tour with a series of solid efforts on the Challenge Tour and he has a wonderful record in this tournament with three top 11 finishes in three outings. Those have been on different courses to this one but he is a player who has won a Scottish Open in the past so that tells us that he can handle himself on links courses and I really do think that links comfort and familiarity sorts out the top end from the bottom end of this field. Stone hasn’t started life back at DP World Tour level particularly strongly but this is a weak field and at the prices I think he is worth chancing with enough in his Mauritius form and previous Links record to suggest he should be comfortable in the surroundings at least.
My last bet this week comes in the form of a player I regularly take to win the Dunhill Links Championship in Joakim Lagergren. He has four top four finishes in just eight starts in that competition so if that doesn’t show that he can handle links courses and thrives on them then I don’t know what does. Lagergren had an acceptable time of it in South Africa to open up the season but he has been active which is never a bad thing at this part of the season and he is the sort of player who will know chances like these have to be gobbled up. I think he could go well this week as a result of all of that.
Back M.Siem to win Mauritius Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 23.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)
Back B.Stone to win Mauritius Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 71.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)
Back them here:
Back M.Southgate to win Mauritius Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 41.00 with Coral (1/5 1-8)
Back J.Lagergren to win Mauritius Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with Betway (1/5 1-7)