Sandelin claims MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius

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JARMO Sandelin, the joker in the Staysure Tour pack, was laughing all the way to the bank after securing an impressive victory in the final event of the season - the MCB Tour Championship - Mauritius - at the classy Constance Belle Mare Plage resort.

It was the super Swede's first success in 18 years although the former Ryder Cup player has always seen the funny side of the game, being renowned for his jokes, quips and one liners, although he could barely hold back the tears as he picked up the trophy on the 18th green of the Legend course he loves: he shot a course record 62 here two years ago.

It was emotional stuff but a richly deserved win for the Swede who earned himself a cool 61,400euros under the hot Mauritian sun, an outstanding combination of raw power and finesse enabling him to streak ahead of all his rivals, leaving them trailing as he helped himself to ten birdies with his only blips in his glorious final round 65 (-12) coming at holes 9 (double bogey) and a three-putt at the signature par-3 island green 17th.

He finished three shots clear of joint overnight leader James Kingston (level par 72) who had to settle for second best but collected the King of the Indian Ocean swing spoils.
But the day belonged to Sandelin, who won a handful of times on the main European Tour and played in the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline and told us afterwards: "I've been playing really well for a long time and today all parts of my game came together. It was a great feeling.

"This is the highlight of my senior career so far because it is one of the main tournaments. Now I am going to take a month off and then go to the US to try and qualify for a few of next year's Champions Tour events."

The day also belonged to popular Welshman Phil Price who claimed his first Order of Merit title, proudly claiming the John Jacobs Trophy after a stylish 69 finish saw him secure third spot alongside last year's champion Clark Dennis and Frenchman Jean-Francois Remesy who hoped for much more after setting a cracking early pace.

"It was very special," said Price who like Sandelin had his son (Edward and Lukas respectively) on his bag. "I played well which was just as well because there was a chance of letting it slip through my fingers if I hadn't finished in the top ten on my own.

"So I did my bit and got the job done. It was massive - as big as anything I've ever done in the game before. It's Edward's 19th birthday today so we've double reason to celebrate later on!"

The fourth and final winner was 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie (68, -4) who finished strongly, forgetting yesterday's 74 woes by adding the Rookie-of-the-Year title to his impressive collection of prizes.

Despite the absence of big guns Ian Woosnam and Paul Broadhurst, it was a memorable end to a memorable season. Roll on the 2020 season...