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Overnight leader Michael Jonzon and Robert Coles both birdied the 18th hole to go into the final round of the season at -11, but Peter Baker and Adilson da Silva are part of a four-way tie just one stroke off the lead as their fight for MCB Road to Mauritius supremacy goes right to the wire.
Jonzon couldn’t quite match the heroics of yesterday’s 64 but he battled hard for a 69 that keeps him bang in contention. The Swede went out in level par with a bogey at 2 and a birdie at 4, before he started the back nine with a bang by holing out for eagle from 60 metres. He took advantage of the two par-5s on the way home, but also made a second bogey of the day and the week on 16.
“It was a bit of a struggle today, in a way,” the two-time DP World Tour winner admitted. “I wasn’t as close to the pin, and I hit good putts but they didn’t want to drop. It was a harder day today, so I’m actually happy with -3 and to still be at the sharp end of the field.
“Some people actually like to come from behind, but I’d rather be as low a score as possible, so I definitely think going off last is an advantage. There’s obviously going to be some pressure, which comes with the game. That’s just normal. I’m going to go and hit some balls on the range and a few putts and see if we can get into a nice groove for tomorrow.”
Coles, who sits 27th in the MCB Road to Mauritius, followed up his 67 in the opening round with an excellent 66. He navigated the first five holes in -2 and bounced back from a bogey at 6 by reeling off three birdies in a row to the midway point. Two red numbers on a blemish-free back nine got the 51-year-old into a tie at the top.
“I’m delighted,” said Coles. “I’m not quite sure where the form has come from this week, I’ve been struggling a little bit, but it’s really nice to play well at a big week like this. The course is lovely, in great condition, and thankfully I’ve putted really well on very nice greens.
“I’m very proud of how I reacted to the bogey. People who know me know that I can get a little bit hot under the collar and I did make a silly bogey. I was annoyed with myself but managed to channel it in the right way. It’s a tournament everyone wants to be involved in, so I’m really pleased.”
The race to become MCB Road to Mauritius number one is tantalizingly set up with Baker and Da Silva both in tied-3rd. Baker is the man currently at the summit and he matched yesterday’s bogey-free 67. Da Silva, who got his fourth win of the season at last week’s Vinpearl DIC Legends Vietnam to extend the race into his week, matched the man he’s chasing with a round of -5.
Three-time winner Baker knows that a win or 2nd alone would guarantee him glory in the season-long Order of Merit, while the Brazilian realistically needs at least a top-two finish and for his adversary to drop down the leaderboard. If Da Silva wins, Baker needs to finish solo 2nd to stay ahead of him. With both players in contention for the tournament, who finishes the season as Legends Tour number one could easily come down to one shot on the final green and they’re playing together in the penultimate threeball.
Peter Fowler and Michael Long both shot 66 to join the year’s two dominant players at -10. Fowler had seven birdies, including three in the last four holes, and Long recovered from an early bogey at the 2nd with eight red numbers to give himself a chance of a first Legends Tour win. Long is in the final group, alongside Jonzon and Coles, with Fowler joining the penultimate threeball.
Patrik Sjoland is part of an exciting battle for the Barry Lane Rookie of the Year award, which is also primed for a nail-biting finale, and he’s in tied-7th with Ricardo Gonzalez on -9. Sjoland needs to overhaul Greig Hutcheon to be crowned the year’s top rookie. With the Scotsman tied-18th on -5, Sjoland realistically needs a top-5 finish, but it’s a very fluid situation.
Euan McIntosh had a 71 and Jason Norris signed for a 67 to go into the final 18 holes of the season at -8, with 2010 BMW PGA Championship winner Simon Khan on -7.
The 48 players are competing for a prize fund that’s increased to $1 million, and there’s a $100,000 bonus pool to be shared between the top five in the MCB Road to Mauritius at the conclusion of the tournament.
Visit www.legendstour.com to see the full leaderboard, second round tee times, and find out more about the MCB Tour Championship – Mauritius at Constance Belle Mare Plage.