Dodt leads in Mauritius
Andrew Dodt mastered the windy conditions at Four Seasons Golf Club at Anahita to take the first round lead at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
The Beau Champs layout had been expected to provide a tougher challenge than the inaugural event last season as the tournament moved from the south to the east of the stunning island.
And with the wind sometimes swirling at the Ernie Els designed track on the Mauritian coast, only 21 players managed to get under par on day one of the tri-sanctioned event involving the European, Asian and Sunshine Tours.
This course can bite you – Dodt
The best of those was Dodt, playing his first European Tour event since the True Thailand Classic Presented by Chang in March, who carded an impressive 66 to open up a two-shot lead over India’s Rashid Khan and Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman.
“If someone said six under at the start of the day, I would have put my hand up yesterday and taken it,” he said. “It’s not easy out there. If you’re off by just a little bit, everything gets magnified by the wind.
“I played really solid, I didn’t make too many mistakes and the momentum in the round just kept flowing.
“I probably won’t shoot 66 tomorrow but I’ve just got to try to minimise the mistakes.
When you play well, the conditions don’t really matter. Fortunately that happened to me today – Andrew Dodt
“Having said that, this course can just get up and bite you at any stage. There’s a long way to go.”
Starting on the tenth, the Australian chipped in for birdie after missing the green on his opener and then showed great scrambling skills again as he put a seven iron out of a bunker on the 11th to two feet for another gain.
A bogey on the 14th was followed by a birdie on the next but an eagle on the par five last saw him turn in 32. The two-time European Tour winner then bogeyed the second but finished strongly with birdies on the fourth, seventh and ninth.
Khan also started birdie-birdie on the back nine and would make two further gains to go with a brace of bogeys as he turned in a topsy-turvy 34 before a birdie on the first got him to three under.
Five of the Best – AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open (Day 1)
- A birdie on the third briefly handed him the lead all on his own but he gave the shot back on the sixth before making a gain on the eighth courtesy of a 50-foot downhill putt.
- Rahman looked on course for the only bogey-free round of the day with birdies on the 13th, 15th, 18th and second, but he dropped a shot on the eighth before picking it back up on the ninth.
- Jeunghun Wang, fresh off his maiden victory at last week’s Trophée Hassan II, was then at three under with the help of three birdies in a row from the sixth and a gain on the last.
- Argentina’s Estanislao Goya was also three behind the leader as he also birdied the last with three further gains on the back nine.
- Indian Chiragh Kumar, South African Jbe Kruger and Thailand’s Natipong Srithong were then all at two under, with defending champion George Coetzee in the group a further shot back.