Mauritius : Antoine Rozner produced an impressive display on the final day with a round of 67 at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open as he pushed aside memories of a play-off loss when the event was last held in 2019.
“That was a different event and a different course. I did not even think about it,” said an elated Rozner as he won the last event of 2022 on the DP World Tour by a record five shots. “It’s unbelievable. I couldn’t dream of a better way to finish the year.
It’s amazing. It felt like playing at home to be honest. The crowds here were amazing. It was an unbelievable week,” said Rozner, who in 2019 lost a playoff for this title. He added, “I played solid all week. My first nine holes was one of my best nines ever.
To play that front nine, the harder nine, in five under made a massive difference. I didn’t know the scores and I just tried to stay focused in the moment. I started missing a few shots here and there coming but I had a big enough lead to get it done,” he said.
“Winning is very hard, so this is huge. It tests your mind and your game and I was very emotional at the end. We work so hard for this and to get it done is amazing.” Rozner’s victory in the final event of the calendar year is his third win on the DP World Tour and first since the 2021 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Spaniard Alfredo Garcia-Heredia finished alone in second on 14 under after posting a flawless 67 on his 41st birthday. France’s Julien Brun was two shots further back in third after his level-par 72. The Frenchman began the day with a two-shot advantage and carded an eagle and three birdies on the front nine to stretch his lead to five strokes at the turn.
He then safely parred the next seven holes in breezy conditions before a bogey-birdie finish saw him end the tournament on 19 under par and banish the memory of his play-off defeat to Rasmus Hjgaard in this event three years ago.
Rozner did well to keep his card clean in the early stages of the fourth round, pulling off a remarkable recovery shot from a tricky lie to save par at the third. The 29-year-old opened his birdie account from around six feet at the fifth before an outstanding approach into the par-five seventh set up an eagle chance there.
And his ten-foot putt just caught the right edge of the hole and went below ground to move him to 17 under. Rozner found the green with his tee-shot at the par-three eighth and rolled in the putt to pick up another shot before draining a monster birdie effort at the ninth to move five shots clear.
Yet another phenomenal iron shot gave Rozner a birdie opportunity on the tenth but this time he was unable to convert, and a further chance evaded him at the short 11th. He recovered from an errant tee-shot on the 12th to walk away from there with a par, before parring the 13th, 14th and 15th.
Rozner lagged his enormous birdie putt to tap-in range at the 16th but dropped a shot on the short 17th after missing the green. He made amends at the last, though, almost chipping in for an eagle before knocking in the close-range birdie putt to close out a stunning victory.
An emotional Rozner said: “Unbelievable. It’s a tough game. We practise so hard all year long and a win is a win and I’m so glad I got this done. “I’m going to have a few weeks to celebrate now so that’s amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything better than this.”