Sunshine Tour

Atwal’s course record gives him Mauritius lead

Arjun Atwal (Gallo Images)
Arjun Atwal (Gallo Images)

Bel Ombre - It was a bogey-free round and it was a course record, three strokes better than the previous one.

It gave India's Arjun Atwal a four-stroke edge over his nearest rivals after the first round of the Mauritius Open on Thursday.

The 44-year-old who plays out of Royal Calcutta Golf Club, has won on the PGA Tour as well as eight times on the Asian Tour, made an eagle and seven birdies for his nine-under-par 62, as he bettered the mark for Heritage Golf Club, which was held jointly by 2015 champion George Coetzee, Carlos Pigem, Jeunghun Wang and Thorbjorn Olesen.

"I'm pleased and shocked," he said. "I took a very long route coming here. I came through Dubai and it took me 16 hours to get here. I was tired and I didn't really expect anything. Sometimes when you don't expect much, you get a lot out of it."

Trailing him by four strokes on five-under-par 66 were Germany's Sebastian Heisele, South Africans Louis de Jager and Ockie Strydom, Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines and Brazil's Adilson Da Silva.

Behind them was a large group of 13 players on four-under-par.

Among those on four-under were Coetzee, 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, Sunshine Tour Order of Merit leader Oliver Bekker and rising star Dylan Frittelli.

De Jager credited his work on the greens for his good opening round.

"My putting has improved a lot the last few weeks," he said. "I've worked a lot on my putting, so that was really good. I saw all the lines nicely and I hit the ball well, I drove it nicely, so that helps. It's a good combination to have."

Strydom has posted four second-place finishes on the Sunshine Tour this season, and he would love to win this.

"I don't know how many second places I've had in my career, but to finally win here would be huge," he said. "This was a nice round. I'm happy with five-under - four behind but there's still lots of golf to play."

Oosthuizen was pleased with his start too. "I took advantage of the wind not being that strong on the first nine holes," he said.

"I was four-under through seven. Then it gets tricky. The wind really picked up and there are some good holes out there. A lot of risk and reward. I was taking driver everywhere today, so a few errant tee shots, but I think there is definitely good scoring out there. You've got to be careful, there are hurdles along the way the whole time."

Coetzee was a little surprised to be as close to the top as he was. "I didn't think I'd be close to the leaders with four-under," he said. "It seems the wind got a bit tricky out there so I'm happy to post a decent number."

Atwul missed the cut with scores of 73 and 77 in the inaugural tournament, but he got off to a fast start with a pair of birdies on his opening two holes this time.

"I played here two years ago but I don't really remember the course. I missed two or three fairways but for most of the part I kept the ball in front of me. I made a few putts and every time you want to shoot low, that's what you have to do."

He followed his good start with two more birdies ahead of the turn, and then made his fifth birdie on the 10th. He made his eagle on the 14th, and closed out his scoring with two more birdies - on 16 and 18.

His win on the PGA Tour came in 2010, and his last win in Asia was in 2014. He probably feels ready for another victory.


62 - Arjun Atwal

66 - Sebastian Heisele, Louis de Jager, Miguel Tabuena, Adilson Da Silva, Ockie Strydom

67 - Joel Stalter, Romain Langasque, Pontus Widegren, George Coetzee, Louis Oosthuizen, Jbe' Kruger, Oliver Bekker, Teaghan Gauche, Anders Hansen, Marcus Kinhult, Jason Knutzon, Dylan Frittelli, Laurie Canter

68 - Justin Walters, Adrien Saddier, Sam Horsfield, Jacques Kruyswijk, Masahiro Kawamura, Ricardo Gouveia, Shubankar Sharma, Andrea Pavan, Jarin Todd, Richard Mcevoy, Jose-Filipe Lima, Pep Angles, Casey O'Toole

69 - Raphael Jacquelin, Suradit Yongcharoenchai, Doug McGuigan, Andrew Curlewis, Johannes Veerman, Mark Williams, Jaco Prinsloo, Haydn Porteous, S S P Chawrasia, Matthieu Pavon, Shiv Kapur, James Morrison, Jaco Ahlers

70 - Jens Dantorp, Kyle Barker, Javi Colomo, Jake Higginbottom, Chiragh Kumar, Paul Peterson, Honey Baisoya, Micah Lauren Shin, Dawie Van der Walt, Danthai Boonma, Scott Vincent, Darren Fichardt, Clement Sordet, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Hennie Otto, Daniel van Tonder, Neil Schietekat, Scott Barr

71 - Barry Lane, Omar Sandys, Chikkarangappa S, Jacques Blaauw, Phachara Khongwatmai, Jack Harrison, Scott Hend, Jean-Paul Strydom, Jean Hugo, Jinho Choi, Alfie Plant, Tyrone Ryan, Jeff Winther, Nico Geyger, Pedro Oriol, Dean Burmester, Bradley Neil, Gregory Havret, Estanislao Goya

72 - Ryan Mccormick, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit, Gavin Moynihan, Ashley Chesters, Alex Haindl, Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Lyle Rowe, Marcel Schneider, Keenan Davidse, Brett Munson, Henric Sturehed, Jake Roos, Christiaan Basson, Mitchell Slorach, Connor Syme, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Mark Foster, Ashun Wu, Michael Tran

73 - Peter Karmis, Carlos Pigem, Himmat Rai, Zander Lombard, Justin Harding, Aaron Rai, Lionel Weber, Titch Moore, Phil Minkley, Chanwoo Kim, Ulrich van den Berg, Oscar Zetterwall, Jamie Donaldson, Christofer Blomstrand, Sam Chien, Steven Brown, MJ Viljoen, Scott Fernandez

74 - JC Ritchie, Toby Tree, Alexander Bjork, Piya Swangarunporn, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Sebastien Gros, Lorenzo Gagli, Gavin Green, Jazz Janewattananond, Marc Cayeux

75 - Rahil Gangjee, Nicolas Colsaerts, Ross McGowan, Khalin Joshi, Madalitso Muthiya, Chris Swanepoel, Vaughn Groenewald, Wolmer Murillo

76 - Ben Stow, Sutijet Kooratanapisan, Hennie du Plessis, Darren Clarke, Espen Kofstad, Ruan de Smidt

77 - Petr Dedek, Ben Evans, Siddikur Rahman, Sujjan Singh, Toto Thimba

78 - Jared Harvey

79 - Jonathan Thomson

80 - John Michael O'Toole

81 - Gary Stal

82 - Riekus Nortje

86 - Gerrit Foster

RTD - Matthew Baldwin

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