Will big Coet­zee con­quer in Mau­ri­tius again?

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

Ge­orge Coet­zee says he is deter­mined to prove to his crit­ics that he is the le­git­i­mate AfrAsia Bank Mau­ri­tius Open cham­pion by mak­ing a suc­cess­ful ti­tle de­fence.

The tour­na­ment tees off at Four Sea­sons Golf Course at Anahita, Beau Champ, on Thurs­day.

The big-hit­ting Pre­to­ria player won the in­au­gu­ral event at the Her­itage Golf Club last year by beat­ing Den­mark’s Thor­b­jørn Ole­sen on the sec­ond play-off hole to lift the cham­pi­onship tro­phy sanc­tioned by three ma­jor tours – Sun­shine, Euro­pean and Asian.

He scored three birdies at the par-five 18th hole – one at the end of the fi­nal round and two in the play-off – to be­come vic­to­ri­ous and reg­is­ter a third Euro­pean Tour ti­tle. Coet­zee carded an over­all score of -13 for 271. His other tri­umphs came at the Joburg Open in 2014 at the Royal Jo­han­nes­burg & Kens­ing­ton Golf Club with -19 and the Tsh­wane Open, where he recorded -14 at his home Pre­to­ria Golf Club course last year.

Now the bulky 29-year-old golfer said he would make his de­trac­tors, who thought his pre­vi­ous win came by sheer luck, swal­lows their words.

“Many peo­ple be­lieve I won last year by luck and there­fore I won’t be able to win for the sec­ond year run­ning,” said Coet­zee.

“Watch me when I hit my first tee shot. I’m in great form and don’t see any rea­son I can­not make a suc­cess­ful ti­tle de­fence. I won’t dis­ap­point my fans.”

Coet­zee, who has won nine tour­na­ments as a pro­fes­sional golfer, be­lieved that the Four Sea­sons would be a tough course with nar­row fair­ways, as com­pared with his pre­vi­ous slaugh­ter­house. “I’ve stud­ied the course yardage book and re­alise that the pin po­si­tions there at the venue have been made dif­fi­cult to reach. I have been work­ing on my putting, iron play and bunker shots. I’m ready for an­other vic­tory,” said Coet­zee. He was aware that there would be a com­pet­i­tive field with golfers who would be out to make a mark on the greens, but he would be too good. Last year, Coet­zee started day one ahead of com­pa­triot Thomas Aiken and Ole­sen, but pulled clear with a sen­sa­tional start as he birdied the sec­ond and third from close range af­ter some won­der­ful shots. Com­pe­ti­tion will be stiff with play­ers such as Adil­son da Siva of Brazil and French­man Gré­gory Bourdy. There is also the like­li­hood of a strong chal­lenge com­ing from South African play­ers who have en­tered the tour­na­ment (see box).

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