Mauritius Open Betting Tips: Six each-way picks for the final event of the year
These end of year events in 2022 really haven’t disappointed; following Dan Bradbury swiftly making a name for himself three weeks ago by winning the Joburg Open and Thriston Lawrence capping a superb year by taking home the South African Open two weeks ago, last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship provided us with a third memorable winner on the bounce.
There, South Africa’s Ockie Strydom – who had just one career win to his name on the Sunshine Tour in 2019 and has finished 2nd on an excruciating sixteen occasions – looked like a player who had been putting big titles to bed throughout his career. Entering the final round in a share of the lead and moving clear in the early stages, you could’ve been forgiven for expecting the 37-year-old to fold on the back nine after he doubled his 9th hole.
No such thing, as he proceeded to birdie four of his next five holes, enabling him to play safe over the closing holes and pick up a life-changing DPWT title in calm, assured fashion whilst inside he surely must’ve been feeling the pressure. He’ll be hoping this victory can do for him what last year’s Joburg Open has done for Thriston Lawrence this year and it’ll be fascinating to see how he handles that step up to the DPWT next year.
That event at the iconic Leopard Creek would’ve been a fitting end to the year but we have one last event before we can forget about golf for a few weeks and enjoy the festive period: the Mauritius Open at Mont Choisy Le Golf.
The event makes its return this week following a three-year hiatus and at the debuting Mont Choisy Le Golf, with the five previous editions – from 2015 to 2019 – having been staged at either Heritage Golf Club or Anahita Golf Club.
It is once again held in association with South Africa’s Sunshine Tour, though the Asian Tour – which had sanctioned the previous five events with the DPWT and Sunshine Tour – is no longer part of the event.
Rasmus Hojgaard is the current title holder but doesn’t return to defend the title he won in 2019 – neither do either of the four prior winners: Kurt Kitayama (2018), Dylan Frittelli (2017), Jeunghun Wang (2016) and George Coetzee (2015). With that we’re going to get a new champion this week and with a relatively weak field, everybody will fancy their chances of finishing their years off in style.
Mont Choisy Le Golf is not just new to this event but is a new construct having opened for play in 2017 - designed by prolific South African architect, Peter Matkovich. A par 72 measuring 7050 yards, Mont Choisy has an unusual make up of five par 3s and par 5s, with just the eight par 4s.
The course is rather open and exposed, with generally wide, undulating fairways bordered by striking black, rocky waste areas and natural grassy mounds. Greens look about average size but some at tricky angles, protected by run-off areas and pot bunkers more familiar to what you’d find in the UK; whilst there is water in-play on around eight holes.
Scoring opportunities are in abundance here, not just from the five par 5s but there are also two drivable par 4s – the 3rd and 13th – whilst the remaining six par 4s are all 450 yards or less; Matkovich himself has stated that he expects the players to score well. Having said that, wind looks likely to be a factor this week on this exposed setup and with enough danger from the water and waste areas lurking, I don’t expect the players to have it all their own way; good wind management surely set to be key.
I’d certainly expect bombers to enjoy this venue; fairways are generous and with the five par 5s and short par 4s, they should relish the setup; for all it is short enough that I wouldn’t entirely rule out the shorter hitter who can get the irons and putter firing.
The dynamic shifts a little when counting in the conditions, which could see the players having to deal with consistent winds of up to 20mph over the course of the week. If that materialises or turns up even stronger, a different skillset will be needed and a strong short-game is sure to see players come to the fore; whilst I also think it will see those who pummel the greens in a prominent position.
In addition, par 5 scoring should once again be key this week with the higher than usual volume of such holes on this week’s course.
Key Stats: Driving Distance, Scrambling, SG: Around-the-Greens, Greens-in-Regulation
The course certainly shares some characteristics with links courses in the UK & Ireland, with events such as the Dunhill Links, Scottish Open and Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews – amongst other events on links/links-like courses - certainly worth searching for clues.
With that line of thought, I do like form in the Middle-East too, with the often wind-affected Qatar Masters the standout there; whilst the short, exposed and watery HimmerLand Resort – host of the Made in Denmark/HimmerLand – has plenty in common with this week’s course; other events such as the Portugal Masters and Dutch Open could too provide clues, on courses with similar attributes.
Both courses that previously hosted the Mauritius Open could also be of interest, particularly Heritage Golf Club - host in 2015, 2017 and 2019 – as it is another Peter Matkovich design. Whilst he also designed this year’s Kenya Open host, Muthaiga Golf Club, though a much different setup than this week’s venue.
Further to this, amongst Matkovich’s wealth of designs used on the Sunshine Tour is Zebula Golf Estate, which was the host course to this SDC Open this year – an event co-sanctioned between the Challenge Tour and Sunshine Tour – which was won by France’s Clement Sordet and could be worth a look in relation to a large number of this week’s field having played there earlier this year.
As I’ve made mention of, the forecast is predicting a reasonable amount of wind this week and it is set to blow across all four days, with constant winds of 15-17mph and gusts of up to 31mph.
The majority of the big names that have featured over the last few weeks have headed for the winter break early and given Mauritius a miss. Dean Burmester is the highest ranked player in the field and actually the ambassador of this week’s course, Mont Choisy.
We do have a couple of notable names entering the fray here who haven’t featured over the last three weeks: Belgium’s Thomas Detry and France’s Julien Brun – himself with ties to Mauritius.
The rest of the field is made up of many of the regular Sunshine Tour players who’ve played the last few weeks and those Challenge Tour/Q-School graduates; all no doubt looking to take advantage of the lack of many real big names to follow in the footsteps of Dan Bradbury and Ockie Strydom, picking up a career-changing victory.
Mauritius Open Tips
- Jayden Schaper 22/1 – 1/5 8 places (bet365) – 2 pts ew
- Julien Brun 40/1 – 1/5 7 places (williamhill) – 1.25 pt ew
- Matthieu Pavon 40/1 – 1/5 8 places (Bet365) – 1.25 pt ew
- JC Ritchie 55/1 – 1/5 8 places (Bet365) – 1 pt ew
- Lucas Bjerregaard 80/1 – 1/5 8 places (bet365) – 1 pt ew
- David Ravetto 90/1 – 1/5 7 places (William Hill) – 1 pt ew
Jayden Schaper is one of a crop of highly promising South African youngsters making waves in the early days of their pro careers; carrying over the impressive form he’d been showing on the Sunshine Tour prior to the three events in South Africa on the DPWT - with finishes of 18th in the Joburg Open, 9th in the South African Open and 26th in last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship - he can pounce on this weaker field to win a first pro title this week.
He turned pro early in 2020 after a dominant year in the amateur ranks in 2019 that saw him win nine times, including victories in the prestigious South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship, The Junior PLAYERS Championship and the Bobby Locke Open; though by far the most interesting win that year came in the All Africa Team Championship, as Schaper routed the field by seven strokes, here at Mont Choisy Le Golf.
Schaper made an instant impact at pro level, finishing 6th in the South African Open just a few weeks before turning pro in 2020; a 2nd in the 2020 Alfred Dunhill Championship once again highlighting his potential at this highest level and he has been collecting top 10s for fun on the Sunshine Tour, though that breakthrough win still alludes him.
He’s a strong ball-striker, as we have seen across many of his DPWT starts over recent years; with rankings of 7th in GIR, 7th in driving distance and 23rd in driving accuracy on the Sunshine Tour providing further evidence as to his prowess with the long-game; showing himself more than adept around-the-greens multiple times too, whilst the putter looks the weakest club in the bag, it is by no means disastrous.
Schaper has the power-packed ball-striking game to take it to this week’s venue, indeed as he showed in that amateur win in 2019; with further evidence for his suitability to Matkovich designs found in a 2nd at Ebotse Links just six starts ago in the Fortress Invitational – a course at which he’s a member – this looks like the perfect opportunity for this big talent to get that first win.
After winning twice on the Challenge Tour in 2021 - resulting in him finishing 4th on the Road to Mallorca standings and earning a promotion to the DPWT last season – Julien Brun arrived on tour in 2022 as a player with plenty of expectation.
He didn’t impress quite as much as was expected, with just the one top 10 coming in the British Masters; however, thanks to a bunch of top 25s at the start of the year he held on to his DPWT card quite comfortably and can kick on in 2022/23 with that year of experience in the bag.
That certainly seemed to be his mood following the completion of last season and despite being away for six-weeks following the Portugal Masters at the end of October he has been putting in plenty of practice.
You’d hope he’s found something with the driver in that time – by far the worst club in his bag - though he makes up for that in all other areas of his game; ranking 18th in putting, 15th in GIR, 28th in approach and 35th around-the-greens on tour last season. A skillset that should serve him well here.
Brun is no newcomer to playing golf in Mauritius, spending a few years as ambassador for Anahita Golf Club – the host of the Mauritius Open in 2016 and 2018 – regularly practising there. Hopefully arriving here feeling refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated, the Frenchman can finish 2022 in style and signal his intent for the new season with a strong, contending performance at Mont Choisy.
Matthieu Pavon is another Frenchman with ties to Mauritius – as the new ambassador to Anahita GC – coming off the back of another strong season on the DPWT in 2021/22, he can find a much deserved first win this week.
Pavon has been there or thereabouts for a few years now, twice finishing runner-up on the DPWT over the years – first, here in Mauritius at Anahita in 2018 and in Portugal last year – but has stepped up on that markedly this year, having his best season on tour.
This saw him hit the top 10 on five occasions, two of them coming right at the start of the year when 3rd in Ras Al Khaimah, then 6th at the Peter Matkovich designed Muthaiga GC in the Kenya Open, though undoubtedly the most impressive performance was his 2nd place finish behind Jon Rahm in the Open de Espana in October; although finishing six shots behind the former world #1, he did little wrong in the process and produced the type of strong all-round performance that showed he’s more than capable of claiming one of these at some point.
He’s struggled to replicate that level of form in his next five starts since, though there were encouraging signs last week at Leopard Creek; ultimately missing the cut, he bounced back well from a 4-over 76 in round one to shoot 4-under in round two; to miss the cut by just the one shot.
Pavon is at his best with the driver and possessing plenty of distance that should see him enjoy the par 5s and reachable par 4s. The rest of his game is a little more in-and-out but he is more than capable in each area and it tends to be the case that if he finds a little something in one part, others fall into place.
Aside from his 2nd in Mauritius in 2018 and 6th in Kenya, his runner-up finish in Portugal could also be a good pointer and if able to pick up where he left off with his second round in South Africa last week, he’d look to have plenty in his favour to sign off 2022 with a win in Mauritius.
Ten-time Sunshine Tour winner JC Ritchie earned his way onto the DPWT thanks to finishing 4th on the Road to Mallorca last season. After a slow start in the opening two events in South Africa, he sprung into life in the Alfred Dunhill Championship last week – finishing 17th and I’m taking him to improve further in Mauritius.
He started his year with back-to-back wins in South Africa in events co-sanctioned with the Challenge Tour. Much of the rest of his year has been spent splitting time between the Challenge Tour and DPWT, with an 8th in the British Masters a standout showing; whilst at the start of October he finished 2nd in the British Challenge on the Challenge Tour in tough, windy conditions - encouraging should those expected winds arrive this week.
His biggest strengths lie with the driver and around the greens, very much on show over these South African events and particularly with the driver last week, as he ranked 1st off-the-tee at Leopard Creek – if the stats are correct.
Ritchie has shown himself adept at winning/competing in any type of conditions, on courses varying in difficulty, having won events with winning scores ranging from -8 in the Sun Carnival City Challenge on the Sunshine Tour in 2018 – at Ebotse Links no less; as mentioned, another Matkovich design - to his latest win in the Jonsson Workwear Open in February this year, as he demolished the field by six shots, with a score of -26.
This makes me confident in him here regardless of how conditions dictate difficulty and I’m hoping he can put that excellent winning ability he’s developed in South Africa to use in Mauritius.
I’m going to take a chance on Lucas Bjerregaard. The two-time DPWT winner and former top 50 in the world player lost full playing privileges on tour last season and failed to regain them at Q-School. However, he was playing some more solid golf towards the end of the season, and as someone who is proven in the wind, as well on these more open setups, he should appreciate conditions this week.
He made just four of his first seventeen cuts of the year but started to turn things around in Wales at the Cazoo Open in August, producing an excellent and unexpected 3rd place finish, showing quality in every area of his game.
He played another ten times following that, only making four cuts but adding top 25s in the Open de France and Open de Espana, before finishing a solid 34th in the Portugal Masters when we last saw him - his five best DPWT performances of the year coming over the last eleven events.
It is true that the short-game carried his better performances after his 3rd in Wales and the dip in ball-striking has to be a concern for a player who made his name thanks to a strong long game. There was the odd glimpse of quality off-the-tee through those performances and that is something he will have to rediscover this week.
If he does, this place looks ideal for the big-hitting Dane, as a past winner of the Dunhill Links in tough conditions, as well as possessing a win amongst a strong record in Portugal. Even in recent years, a top 10 at Fairmont St Andrews in the Hero Open provides another pointer for his potential suitability to this setup.
DPWT winners are few and far between in this field, let alone those with two to their name. Bjerregaard possesses that little bit of class that many here either don’t or haven’t shown yet and with motivation larger than anyone, I fancy him to sign off his year with a big performance in Mauritius.
I’m going to finish my third Frenchman of the week, David Ravetto. The former #22 amateur and 2020 winner of the prestigious Brabazon Trophy had a solid year on the Challenge Tour, picking up plenty of top 25s with a best of 2nd in the Open de Portugal, though ultimately didn’t really threaten breaking into that top 20 needed to gain a DPWT card.
Ravetto made up for this in a big way at Q-School, finishing 2nd there and shooting -27 over the six rounds to book his place on the DPWT this season.
He had a tough start to life on the main tour, missing the cut by six in the Joburg Open but has responded well in his next two starts; finishing 30th in the South African Open and 9th in the Alfred Dunhill Championship last week, a result that could’ve been even better if not for a couple of poor holes in round three - where he made a double and a triple - leaving himself too much to do entering the final round
Ravetto ranked 4th for birdie average there and I’ve also been taken by how he’s consistently scored well on the par 5s over the three events in South Africa. He showed quality in every area across those starts; a good driver who doesn’t lack for power, hits plenty of greens and has shown a decent touch with the short-game, particularly last week at Leopard Creek – a challenging course around the greens. Any repeat of this level of performance should see him go well again.