Finland’s Sami Välimäki produced a masterful putting display on his way to a bogey-free course-record 10-under-par 62 and a two-stroke lead in Thursday’s first round of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Mont Choisy Le Golf.
On a day of intermittent rain but not much wind, Välimäki bettered the previous course record of 64 set by South Africa’s Jayden Schaper. South Africa’s Oliver Bekker is his nearest challenger following an equally impressive round of eight-under-par 64, while Frenchman Pierre Pineau had set the morning target with his seven-under-par 65.
“It was a really nice round. I putted very well and made long putts which I haven’t made in the last few weeks. It was nice to get it rolling like I did today,” said Välimäki, who finished second in the recent Joburg Open.
Välimäki and Bekker played together and it was an exhibition of great golf between the two professionals.
“Oliver played great as well so we kept making putts and enjoying the day. I feel like I found a rhythm and speed for these greens and that was the key for the day. The heat wasn’t bad today as well because of the rain. I’ll just keep grinding and hitting good shots to give myself opportunities.”
Bekker was certainly impressed by what he saw in his playing partner’s game.
“It was unbelievable golf. I think we certainly pulled each other along. It was good fun out there. We were quite relaxed even during the rain. Sami is obviously playing some great golf and hopefully in the second round we can keep pushing each other.”
Bekker has always enjoyed Mauritius and this tournament. “I generally play well here. I’ve played every AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open and I’ve had several top-10 finishes. I feel comfortable playing here and it showed again today.”
European Ryder Cup hopeful Thomas Detry made a solid start with his opening four-under-par 68. The local Mauritian challenge is also looking good after an opening 72 from Vishnoo Seeneevassen.
The 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open has also drawn a glittering array of blue-chip sponsors including Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Mont Choisy Group, Jaguar, Rogers, Heritage Resorts, IBL, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), 3G Mobile, Phoenix Beverages, Air Mauritius, Mautourco, Fenix XCell Apparel, Hertz, Jacobs, C-Care, Emtel, PRO CARTS, IT Solvz, Häagen-Dazs and Dragon Electronics.
62 – Sami Valimaki
64 – Oliver Bekker
65 – Pierre Pineau
66 – JC Ritchie
67 – Niklas Lemke, Christoffer Bring, Jeong Weon Ko
68 – Alejandro Del Rey, Jayden Schaper, Dan Erickson, Thomas Detry, Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, Bradley Bawden
69 – Ockie Strydom, Albert Venter, Jens Fahrbring, Casey Jarvis, Lyle Rowe, Martin Rohwer, Matthew Southgate, Ryan Van Velzen, Ricardo Gouveia, Dylan Mostert, Julien Brun, Julien Guerrier
70 – John Murphy, Heinrich Bruiners, Tom McKibbin, Craig Howie, Santiago Tarrio, Laurie Canter, Antoine Rozner, Ugo Coussaud, Todd Clements, David Ravetto, Stephen Ferreira, Thomas Bjorn, Alexander Knappe
71 – Manuel Elvira, Gary Stal, Simon Forsstrom, Dean Burmester, Ian Snyman, Thomas Aiken, Pedro Figueiredo, Jeremy Freiburghaus, Jacques P de Villiers, Richard Sterne, Louis de Jager, Divan van den Heever, Brandon Stone, Alejandro Canizares, Jens Dantorp, Ruan Korb
72 – Gary Hurley, Sam Hutsby, Neil Schietekat, Peter Karmis, Luke Brown, Bryce Easton, Andre De Decker, Michael Kok, Martin Vorster, Vishnoo Seenevassen, Mikael Lindberg, Kyle Barker, Keagan Thomas, Keenan Davidse, Oihan Guillamoundeguy, Makhetha Mazibuko, Anton Karlsson, Grant Forrest, Joshua Lee, Deon Germishuys, Jaco Van Zyl, Jordan Duminy, Niklas Norgaard Moller, Nikhil Rama
73 – Hennie Otto, Renato Paratore, Rupert Kaminski, Kyle McClatchie, Joel Stalter, Matthieu Pavon, Marcel Siem, Henric Sturehed, Adilson Da Silva, Luca Filippi, Keith Horne, Sean Bradley, Luke Harries, OJ Farrell, Lucas Bjerregaard, Christiaan Burke, Harry Konig, Nicolas Colsaerts, Matias Calderon, Marco Penge, Filippo Celli, Jordan Gumberg
74 – Malcolm Mitchell, Jean-Paul Strydom, Aldrich Potgieter, Pieter Moolman, Danie Van Niekerk, Graeme Storm, Quintin Wilsnach, Luke Jerling, Dylan Naidoo, Wynand Dingle, Herman Loubser, Ross Mcgowan, Yan Wei Liu, Jaco Prinsloo, Javier Sainz, Rhys West
75 – Anthony Michael, Louis Albertse, Jake Redman, Nathan Kimsey, Tristen Strydom, Pavan Sagoo, Angel Hidalgo, Rhys Enoch, Toto Thimba Jnr, Ashley Chesters, Pierre Pellegrin
76 – Mateusz Gradecki, Gerard du Plooy, Jbe’ Kruger, Stefan Wears-Taylor, John Axelsen, Philip Eriksson, Ricardo Santos, Merrick Bremner, Velten Meyer, Estiaan Conradie, Michael Palmer, Keelan van Wyk
77 – Hugo Esposito, Ryo Hisatsune, Kristoffer Reitan, Steve Surry, James Hart du Preez, Adam Breen
78 – Gudmundur Kristjansson, CJ du Plessis, JJ Senekal, Henry Sheridan-Mills
79 – Ruan Conradie, Freddy Schott, Brooklin Bailey, Elias Bertheussen
80 – Emilio Cuartero Blanco, Benjamin Rusch, MJ Viljoen
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