Belgian stars Nicolas Colsaerts and Thomas Pieters are looking forward to rounding off a successful year in style when they tee it up in the idyllic surroundings of Heritage Golf Club for the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
The two former Ryder Cup players returned to winning ways during the 2019 season and have the opportunity to claim another title before the year is out in the second event of the 2020 Race to Dubai.
The chance to work their way into European Captain Padraig Harrington’s team for the next edition of the biennial contest in September is in the back of both of their minds, but Colsaerts is first and foremost relishing the opportunity to play with freedom in the coming months, after erasing doubts about securing his 2020 card by lifting his third European Tour trophy at the Amundi Open de France in October.
“I came from not knowing if I had to go to Q School to now having two years exempt (after the win in France). I played a lot of events last year. We have a young boy at home and you sometimes wish you could spend more time at home, which will definitely be the case next year, bit of a lighter schedule. Being able to play these events with a different mindset is something that I look forward to.
“You always have pretty much the same goals, you want to add as many lines as possible to your CV. We’re into a Ryder Cup year, and I want to keep playing big events. I haven’t played in the Majors for a couple of years now, so it would be good to have a chance again. The mindset will be totally different. I really look forward to 2020 and being able to tee it up a bit more freely and try to make the most out of these weeks.”
While Colsaerts has been a regular visitor to Mauritius for two decades, this week is an all new experience for his compatriot Pieters, who is soaking up the island life for the first time.
After claiming the D+D Real Czech Masters title in August, the 2016 Ryder Cup star enjoyed a strong end to the season with a tied sixth place finish at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. He’s looking forward to carrying that form in to the new season at the fifth edition of the unique island event, tri-sanctioned with the Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour.
“It was lovely to finish off with a good result in Dubai. I played pretty well and felt like my game was turning, it’s almost a shame that the season had to end for me in Dubai. Happy to be playing here – it’s the first time I have played before Abu Dhabi, it’s almost like getting a bit of a head start. Looking forward to it.
“Ryder Cup is going to be on my mind and on my list, but there is so much golf to be played before then. Any points will help. This week at some point it will pop into my mind. If you’re having a bad stretch during a round you just remind yourself that every point counts and every shot counts. That’s the mindset you need to have.
“I’m absolutely loving it here. I’ve never been on really white beaches before, the water is so clear, beautiful scenery. I went swimming with dolphins on Sunday, which was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. You can go snorkelling on the beach and then it’s a five minute stroll to the driving range. You’ve got everything you need here.”