Trophee Hassan II – Royal Golf Dar Es Salam – Rabat – Morocco.
After what has seemed like a long break the European Tour re-visits Morocco for the 10th straight year, where the players will be competing for the coveted Trophee Hassan II and the famous jewel encrusted dagger. This event over its history has been shared between 2 stunning locations and this time we return to the same venue for its 4th consecutive year. In my opinion this is the slightly better of the 2 locations and certainly a more challenging course.
As usual the Royal Gold Dar Es Salam venue will be shared with the Ladies European Tour. The men playing on the longer/ tougher red course and the ladies on the shorter/welcoming blue course… Lets just hope our picks are focused fully on their golf this week and not distracted by what’s on offer on the neighbouring course.
The Red Course
Measuring at 7,615 yards this is one of the longer courses on tour, however it does usually play to a par of 73. With 4 par 5’s available and all reachable in 2, the par 3’s all measure 200 yards + and only 1 par 4 measuring less than 400 yards this should be a great test of golf and hopefully a chance to rack up some birdie or better points in your drafts.
In previous visits they have reduced the length and par of the course but this year thank you to calm, dry weather it should be playing its full length and par.
Although the course length suggest bombing will be the order of the day, this probably couldn’t be further from the truth and keeping the ball in play massively outweighs smashing the ball as far as humanly possible.
The fairways are lined with tricky Kikuyu rough, most holes framed by trees and of course the odd water hazard will no doubt play its role.
The green surfaces here are very pure, ok nowhere near as quick or undulating as what we saw a couple of weeks ago with the Masters, but quick enough to keep the plyers wits about them.
Its also worth noting that the greens here are Poa and they will progressively become more lively as the day goes on. So when making selections for first round leaders an early start and pure, true rolling surfaces are going to present the best opportunity to convert those created chances for birdie and hopefully the low round of the day.
So with the above being said, everything looks set for a superb event, the course looks stunning, the weather couldn’t be more perfect and although many names are missing we still have a solid field of quality players to enjoy watching.
Not much really to tell you about here, there will be very little wind to speak of, there is no rain expected and temperatures and conditions are absolutely ideal.
Strategy and key stats.
Off the Tee
With 4 par 5’s on offer this week it would be foolish not to take par 5 scoring and Eagle performance into consideration, with the length of the course I have to consider yardage from the tee, however if I want my players contending come Sunday this has to be accompanied with accuracy.
*Into the Greens*
For me this is the key stat of the week, if players can hit greens for fun, making the cut and being in contention come Sunday is going to be a far easier task.
Due to the nature of its par 3’s and 4’s proximity to the hole with mid to longer irons in hand will also hold some weight in this weeks picks.
Scrambling and Putting
As always players who score well on and around the greens will be included. This can only but help with Bogey Avoidance and another stat I am very interested in.
We really only have a few years to go on, before that it was several years since it had been played here and the last time back in 2010 in was a very different course, much shorter, less hazards and in general a much easier test of golf.
Scoring never seems to get out of control here and players haven’t yet ripped this course apart.
Last year we only had 19 players post 4 cards that resulted in a tournament score under par. The best of those coming from our defending champion Alex Levy who managed to secure the dagger with a total of -8.
The previous year was a little better in terms of scoring but only marginally. 27 players under par, the best of those was Dodo Mollinari who managed to fend off Paul Dunne in a playoff after both players shot -9.
Prior to that and the year that Wang won here, we only saw 9 players post scores better than par for the tournament and -5 was enough to get into the playoff.
Form is also a tough one to call, but potentially an opportunity for a well thought through gamble and chance to pay more attention on playing style and course suitability.
History shows a players form coming into this event has little impact on how they play (just look at Richie Ramsay.)
Also you have to dig a lot deeper to understand what players have been up to of late.
Only a select few in the field have been travelling across to play PGA Tour and they certainly haven’t played anything on the European Tour for 4 weeks.
Most have returned to playing on their smaller national tours and some have resorted to playing the events on development tours.
Then others have just simply taken a break from competition, either with their feet up resting or grinding away practicing.
My European Tour DraftKings Picks.
Jordan Smith $11,000
$9,000 – $10,000
Fabrizio Zanotti $9,300
Julian Suri $9,100
$8,000 – $9,000
Thomas Detry $8,700
Alex Bjork $8,500
$7,500 – $8000
Paul Waring $7,900
Jason Scrivener $7,700
$7,000 – $7,500
Callum Shinkwin $,7,400
Ashley Chesters $7,400
Chris Paisley $7,200
$7,000 or less
Robert Macintyre $6,800
Lasse Jensen $6,800
My European Tour Betting Tips.
First Round Leader
Jordan Smith 40/1 (1 point e/w)
Callum Shinkwiin 66/1 (1 point e/w)
Jordan Smith 26/1 (1.5 point e/w)
Thomas Detry 40/1 (1 point e/w)
Alex Bjork 45/1 (1 point e/w)
Ashley Chesters 100/1 (0.5 points e/w)