(ANAHITA) Mauritius, May 11 – This week George Coetzee makes his return to the island paradise of Mauritius in the hopes of defending the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
Coetzee won the title in dramatic fashion last year, making birdie at the second extra hole to claim the title from Thorbjørn Olesen.
“Obviously the tee shots in the playoff and the final hole of regulation play were quite crucial. I think the first playoff hole I had to hit this like hook four-iron – it was probably one of my better shots of the week - and almost holing the putt for eagle, and lifting the trophy was the cherry on top,” he said. Coetzee suffered a serious ankle injury surfing last year, and the defending champion says despite the injury, he’s been back in the water enjoying his time off.
“Yeah the last six weeks have been fun. I went surfing for a few weeks and broke a couple of boards, luckily no ankles. I went fishing a week ago, had a great time with Richard Sterne and Charl Schwartzel and a couple other mates. It was really nice to just get out there and do stuff and have a good time instead of focusing and only talking golf. I think the only thing we talked about was the way we should cast a fly rod, instead of how to swing a golf club. We’ve had a good six weeks off and I’m looking forward to finding another week or two to go fishing or surfing.” He said.
The Ernie Els designed Four Season Golf Club will prove to be a battle against the wind this week, and Coetzee says it will prove to be a challenge to score if the wins stays up.
“I wouldn’t say it’s typical Ernie Els, he usually designs golf courses that are a little wider – I suppose the fairways are quite wide – but there isn’t that much rough before you get to the out-of-bounds stakes, “ he said. “ Obviously you’ve got to keep it in play off the tee, but the green are quite small and tricky to hit and I think if you can chip and out this week you’ll do well. I think all of us are going to have a tough challenge on our hands this week. I know they’ve had couple of smaller events here and the winning scores have been less than five-under-par. I don’t think it’ll reach double figures if the wind stays like this, and you’ll do well to stay under-par,” he added.
For Coetzee, it’s a nostalgic return to Mauritius. “I remember it very fondly almost like it was yesterday. Every shot leading up to the playoff and in the playoff and it was a really good week and I’ll cherish it forever,” he said.