In 2013, German star, Marcel Siem tried his best to parlay a win at The Troph’ee Hassan II Golf Tournament into a berth at The Masters, and this week he will be attempting to make history as the only person to repeat in Morocco. The tournament joined the European Tour as a regular stop in 2010, and has never had a repeat winner. Action will begin on Thursday when a pretty good field will tee it up on the Golf du Palais golf course in Agadir, Morocco.
The 33 year-old from Mettmann, Germany came close at the Valero Texas Open, but did not make it to Augusta. Siem will face a tough, battle-tested field this week in Morocco that includes players who have played well on the Sunshine Tour this spring( or is it fall in South Africa?).
Two of the contenders that will go off on Thursday, who Siem will have to do battle with, is Ross Fisher, and Pablo Larrazabal. Fisher won two weeks ago at The Tswanee Open, and Larrazabal picked up a win at Abu Dhabi.
33 year-old Brit, Fisher won his first tournament in almost four years, and looks to have his golf game back in order for a Race To Dubai run later in the year. He has had three top ten finishes from seven events this season. Should he win it would be the first time during his career he has claimed two victories in the same season.
Pablo was tied fourth in 2013 and tied ninth in 2012 and was a combined 33 under for these two tournaments. Looking to be the first Spanish winner since the tournament became part of The European Tour in 2010.
Other players to keep an eye on in Morocco are David Horsey, and 34 year-old Mikko Ilonen from Finland. In the three years the event has been played at Golf du Palais Royal, he was first in 2011, tied 14th in 2012 and second in 2013. From those 12 rounds he is 36 under par, with all 12 rounds at par or better.
Ilonen lost in a playoff to Sergio Garcia at the Commercial Bank Qatar Championship, and finished fifth at the Dubai Desert Classic earlier in the season. Mikko enjoys the Agadir venue having done just about everything but win this event. Finland’s finest was tied third in 2011, tied 17th in 2012 and tied second last year behind Marcel Siem. Out of his 12 rounds over this course seven have been in the 60s.
The Ladies European Tour will be playing a co-event with the men this week, and will play the Lalla Meryen Cup that will tee up at the Golf d L’ Ocean Golf Course in Agadir as well. This is one of the few events that include the ladies playing in the same place as the men. Many fans of the LPGA want to see co-events at the WGC tournaments. I personally think it’s a great way to further promote ladies golf in the US, and around the world.
You can follow Les on Twitter @Spin_47 and in the Golf Community at Google+