Peter Lawrie fired a round of 66 at the Trophée Hassan to help him on his way to share of tenth place at the Royal Dar es Salam Course in Morocco back in 2010. Following five years at Agadir the European Tour event returns to Rabat where it will stay for the next few years. The Dubliner returns to that same this week venue in search of similar form six years, but armed with that memory, after missing the cut on four consecutive occasion at the Royal Palais du Golf in Agadir. Although in 2011 Lawrie carded an opening 64 to lead the event after day one which was eventually won that occasion by David Horsey.
Michael Hoey also returns to Morocco as a previous winner of the Trophée Hassan II in 2012 and is part of a strong Irish field that includes Cormac Sharvin, Garry Hurley, Rory McNamara, Paul Dunne and Kevin Phelan. Last season in Agadir Phelan finished in share of third place with Richie Ramsey winning the event on -10, with Hoey signing off in T34.
Lawrie carded an opening 78 and was amongst those Irish players who missed the cut. A group that included Damien McGrane and Gareth Maybin – neither of whom return to Morocco having lost their Tour cards.
This year the tournament will be held around the Red Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, and is a par-72 layout that stretches to almost 7,500 yards. With the kikuyu grass it actually plays even longer as the fairways and rough toughen the shot-making and with forecasts suggesting rain during the week
the weather might also play a role. Although the smallish greens might allow for some more aggressive shot making if they become softer over the weekend. Undoubtedly this will be a good scoring week for the players as in 2010 Rhys Davies won with a -25 on the card on the same course. The Welshman returns to the scene of his maiden victory on the European Tour also this week.
Over the past two seasons Lawrie has battled with results that left him on the wrong side of the Race to Dubai rankings and finishing in 124th place last year – which proved insufficient to retain his playing rights. The trip to Q School last year at the home of his sponsor, PGA Catalunya, offered no reprieve either. Yet ironically Lawrie fins himself more relaxed about the outlook for the season.
“Without a schedule I have had more time to work on a few things and get a sense of perspective.” said Lawrie, “The trip to Tshwane Open came too early in the season in February and didn’t deliver. But the Open de España a few weeks was good.”
Brendan McDaid once again is on the bag and Lawrie arrives fresh with the news of a sponsor’s invitation for Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at the K Club in two weeks,
“Having Brendan was helpful around Valderrama and making the cut was probably our main goal at the outset,” said Lawrie, “Once that was achieved on the Friday, in the tough conditions, we then focused on the weekend.”
“So it just made sense to continue that partnership in Morocco and we will look to continue that momentum.”
The Hassan II Golf Trophy is a golf tournament in Morocco hosted by His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid and is a tournament named for his father, Hassan II, who served as King of Morocco.
The event was held at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat from 2010 until it moved to Agadir in 2011. Previous winners include Scotland’s Richie Ramsay, German Marcel Siem and England’s David Horsey. The tournament has been played since 1971, but did not take place from 1986 to 1990, 2004, and 2009.
It has only been a European Tour event since 2010.
Brendan McDaid is based at Carr Golf Centre, Spawell