Author: Paul Atkin
Published: 08:32 11/03/2014
Next stop on the European Tour is the Trophee Hassan II, which is being played for the fourth consecutive year at the 6,951yd Par 72 Golf Du Palais Royal Golf Course in Agadir, Morocco.
The prestigious Robert Trent Jones Snr course, which lies within the Royal Palace in Agadir, has a decidedly links feel about it, due to its close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The undulating fairways are fairly generous, but this track requires precision iron play as there are steep run off slopes on many of the greens. Hot, sunny conditions, with only light winds are forecast for the tournament, so expect a low scoring renewal this year.
From a punting angle, it is a wide open betting heat, with many of the top players absent, but I fancy a couple of in form players to go well this week.
My main fancy is the 2011 winner and last years runner up David Horsey, who has found a nice bit of form recently, with Tied 10th and Tied 3rd place finishes in his last two starts in the Joburg Open and Africa Open. This type of layout seems to suit this accurate ball striker, whose other best finish last season (Tied 4th) was at another short links track at El Saler in the Open De Espana. In this quality of field, he must have every chance of notching his third Tour win.
Another in form player I fancy this week is the vastly improved Mikko Ilonen, who really impressed me with his win in the Nordea Masters last year. He contended at both Qatar (2nd) and Dubai (Tied 5th) in stellar fields this year, and with a Tied 2nd place finish here last year and Tied 7th place finish in 2011 to give added confidence, he has to be fancied to be in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
At a huge price, I have to include Raphael Jacquelin in my staking plan. Despite his lack of recent form the genial Frenchman should not be 100-1 in a field of this quality, especially as he won the previously mentioned Open De Espana at the similar El Saler track last year (landing a nice 66/1 touch for this column!).
David Horsey 18-1 E/W bet365
Mikko Ilonen 18-1E/W Paddy Power
Raphael Jacquelin 80-1 E/W Winner