Edited by Anand Datla
Domaine de Bel Ombre, May 8, 2015: Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen seized a one-shot halfway lead at the inaugural AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open on a day Javi Colomo of Spain sank an historic ace on a par four hole.
Olesen, a two-time European Tour winner playing in his first event following a three-month injury layoff, fired a three-under-par 68 for a nine-under-par 133 total at the Heritage Golf Club to lead the €1 million (approximately US$1.1 million) tournament tri-sanctioned by the Asian, European and Sunshine Tours.
However, the day truly belonged to Colomo, who fired the first ever ace on a par four hole on all the three Tours. The Asian Tour regular, playing in the last group of the day, needed a birdie to make the weekend rounds but instead holed out his tee shot with a driver from 329-yards on the par four ninth hole.
“First time in my life I hit an unbelievable driver, very high with a little cut. I tried to stop the ball on the green and the ball found the hole. I needed a birdie to make the cut, double eagle (albatross) is just fantastic,” said Colomo, whose wife Cristina was caddying for him.
“We couldn’t see (the ball go in the hole). But we heard some guys shouting. We thought the ball was very close but when we were on the fairway, we couldn’t see the ball on the green. And then one guy told me that the ball was in the hole. It was a perfect shot,” added the Spaniard, whose incredible feat was also the 19th albatross in Asian Tour history.
A US$1 million villa by tournament sponsor Villa Valriche is on offer to the first golfer who shoots an eagle at the par four 17th hole during the final round while an all-new Jaguar XE R-Sport is on offer for the first Albatross shooter on the par five 18th hole during the weekend rounds. Colomo is now eyeing the special prize.
“Now, I know what to do, maybe I will try for sure on those holes,” smiled Colomo, who signed for a 69 and 141 total for a share of 36th place.
Colomo said his wife did not pull the club for him on nine, a slight downhill challenge. “Not on nine as I made three putt (on eight) and I was disappointed. I didn’t look at her face and I decided the club for myself. I was very right this time. Normally it’s 50-50,” laughed Colomo.
The 25-year-old Olesen, who underwent a hand surgery in January, was delighted to seize control of the AFrAsia Bank Mauritius Open with six birdies against three bogeys.
“On the front nine it was quite tricky but I kept it going and finished strongly with birdies on seven, eight and nine and then tried to keep fighting. I’m enjoying being out there and I holed some nice putts,” said the Dane, who leads from Sweden’s Pelle Edberg.
“I’ve read the greens very nicely this week. I missed a couple of putts in the beginning but then I holed some really nice putts and I feel like I have the pace.”
India’s Rahil Gangjee birdied three of his last seven holes for a 70 to lead a trio of Asian Tour regulars in chasing Olesen. Gangjee, who is half Mauritian, was two-over for the day before rallying with birdies on the 12th, 14th and 18th holes to garner a 137 total.
Co-overnight leader Jeunghun Wang of Korea shot a topsy-turvy 72 to tie Gangjee and young Japanese star Masahiro Kawamura, who returned a 69 and lie three shots off the pace.
“When you go from windy conditions to totally no wind today, it takes some adjustment. It just threw me off a bit,” said Gangjee. “I didn’t make too many putts on the front nine. I just kept at it and made a few bogeys but I knew there were some birdies out there. I just stayed patient.”