Friday, 19 March 2010
Apulia San Domenico Grand Final first Round  (Getty Images)
Apulia San Domenico Grand Final first Round (Getty Images)

The memory of his record-breaking previous visit to Morocco will serve as inspiration when France’s Adrien Mörk tees up at the Banque Populaire Moroccan Classic on the European Challenge Tour this week.

Mörk carded the first official score of 59 in the history of The European, Challenge and Seniors Tours on the second day of the 2006 Agadir Moroccan Classic at Golf du Soleil and the Frenchman won the tournament by a single stroke from Wales’ Mark Pilkington and France’s Julien van Hauwe.

Unquestionably, the abiding memory of the tournament was that record-breaking round, which was made all the more remarkable by the fact that it featured a double bogey on his 11th hole.

When added to his opening round of 63, Mörk's 59 gave him a 36 hole aggregate total of 20 under par 122, which saw him replace America’s Tiger Woods and Frankie Minoza of the Philippines as the holder of the lowest opening 36 hole score on any of the three Tours.

He said: “It still feels like a dream to have shot 59, because I had never been close to a 59 before. It was certainly the best I have ever played, and it was an honour to break so many records for European golf.”

The venue for this year’s Banque Populaire Moroccan Classic has switched to the El Jadida Sofitel Golf Resort, but Mörk will be hoping to replicate the form he showed two years ago.

Amongst those hoping to prevent Mörk from defending is crown – the event was not played in 2007 – are a number of winners on this season’s Challenge Tour.

These include Estanislao Goya of Argentina who, despite falling out of contention at last week’s AGF-Allianz Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne, is still leading the Challenge Tour Rankings and a potential star in the making.

The teenager’s victory at last month’s Abierto VISA del Centro presentado por Personal in his native Argentina saw him become a category one Member of the Challenge Tour, and guaranteed him entry to the remaining events on the Schedule – an invitation he is keen to take up.

Goya, who leads Finland’s Antti Ahokas – another player heading to Morocco – by €2,786 in the Rankings, said: “I’ve been striking the ball very well over the last three weeks, so I just want to keep my momentum going and take that into Morocco. I want to play as many Challenge Tour events as possible, because my goal is to earn my card for The European Tour. That would be a dream for me.

“I’ve played with Andres Romero and Angel Cabrera many times, and they are always giving me advice. They are an inspiration for me – I want to get to where they are.”   

Another player chasing a European Tour card is Ireland’s Colm Moriarty, who has been unable to add to his solitary Challenge Tour victory, at the 2007 FIRSTPLUS Wales Challenge.

But the man from Athlone goes into the Banque Populaire Moroccan Classic in good form, having carded a back nine score of 30 on the third day of the AGF-Allianz Open Cotes d’Armor Bretagne.

Moriarty said: “I shot 29 once before so it’s not my lowest score for nine holes, but I’ll certainly take it. I’m not really sure where it came from, but I got into a nice rhythm and after a few putts dropped, suddenly I couldn’t miss. It came a bit too late for this tournament, but at least it bodes well for Morocco and the rest of the season.”

At the other end of the age spectrum England’s Roger Chapman, winner of the Brazil Rio de Janeiro 500 Years in 2000, will attempt to roll back the years at El Jadida Sofitel Golf Resort before he embarks on a new phase of his career, on the European Seniors Tour.   

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1HOEY, MichaelNIR18-12
T2QUESNE, JulienFRA18-11
4SANTOS, RicardoPOR18-10
T5MOLTENI, GregoryITA18-8
T5TAMPION, AndrewAUS18-8
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