Course Form Gives Horsey A Great Chance
Next stop on the European Tour is the Trophee Hassan II, which is being played for the fifth 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 real precision iron play with steep run off slopes on many of the greens. Accuracy rather than power, and also the ability to handle links type conditions will be the key components required this week. Cloudless skies, with decent breezes of 10-15mph are forecast for the four days
From a punting angle, this is a wide open betting heat, with many of the top players absent, but plenty of players with decent course form, so hopefully we can pinpoint some value options this week.
The column hit the crossbar yet again last week, with our strong E/W fancy Henrik Stenson throwing away a great chance of victory with a weak finish, showing again this season how difficult it is for even a top player to cross the winning line. No doubt more in running carnage on the exchanges!
My main fancy is the 2011 winner and 2013 runner up David Horsey, who after a terrible start to the season, indicated he was finally returning to form, with a Tied 10th place finish in his latest start in the Tshwane Open. He contended for much of the week in South Africa, and this type of layout plays to the strengths of this accurate tee to green merchant. He also has form at the similar El Saler track, where he finished Tied 4th in the 2013 Spanish Open, so these short traditional linksy type of venues are perfect for the Alderley Edge golfer. With confidence hopefully restored, expect another prominent show this week.
Another player I fancy with course form is the enigmatic Pablo Larrazabal, who despite missing the cut last year, has previously shown a definite liking for this track with a 4th place finish in 2013, and a Tied 9th place finish in 2012. The Spaniard has started the season in steady, rather than spectacular style, but this three time Tour winner should be nicely refreshed after a six week break, and is the type of player who could go well fresh. Backing the avid Barcelona fan always carries an element of risk, but he is a proven winner in much better quality of heats than this, so he is well worth an each way punt.
My final selection this week is the in form South African Jaco Van Zyl, who has played well in all three of the recent South African events, posting a Tied 2nd, a Tied 6th, and a Tied 15th in his latest start in the Tshwane Open, where he fought back well after four over par first round of 74. The 36 year old has shown in the past with a playoff loss in the 2011 renewal of this event, that this old fashioned layout very much suits his eye, so this could be the week when the maiden tag is finally broken.