Robert Rock heads back to Morocco next week hoping the knowledge he has garnered from his win in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January will help him go one better in the Trophée Hassan II.
The Englishman was in contention before a disappointing third round last year at Golf du Palais Royal in Agadir, where the tournament returns for a second year running, but since then he has proved he has what it takes to close out victory, winning the Italian Open presented by CartaSi last June before the biggest triumph of his career in Abu Dhabi.
That victory meant he played in the first two World Golf Championships of the season – the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the WGC-Cadillac Championship – experiences he says will make him a better player.
“I maybe let the tournament slip away last time,” said the 34 year old. “It was around the time I felt like I should have been threatening to win one, and luckily I did later on. I was on top form and maybe pushed it a little too much towards the end to try to win.
“Hopefully I can rectify some of the mistakes I made last time with the experience I have now. I know now that I can finish a tournament off if I have a good first couple of rounds and put myself in position. And by playing in events like the WGCs I can learn so much.”
Of Golf du Palais Royal, which is situated inside the Royal Palace of Agadir and, aside from this tournament, is reserved solely for use of King Mohammed VI, Rock added: “It’s a fantastic course. It’s the type of course I really look forward to playing.
“It’s an old style, tree-lined with some very interesting par threes. It’s one of the best venues on Tour, and it’s a really, really good tournament. It’s not often you get to go that close to a palace. We are lucky to be invited to play there.”
Rock claims life has not changed too much since his victory in Abu Dhabi, except that he was recognised by American tycoon Donald Trump while playing at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
“I just get asked a few more questions here and there, which I don’t mind,” he said. “I haven’t quite had the time that I would have liked on my game because I’ve had other things to do, but that’s not something I’d change.
“I’m just getting my head around it now and I’ve started doing a lot of work on my game, which will start to pay off in a couple of weeks’ time.
“I’ve met some interesting people. He (Trump) wasn’t one I was expecting to meet, but I saw him from a distance and he was walking towards me. He must have been watching the golf in Abu Dhabi because he said ‘Well done, congratulations lad’. I had a brief chat with him. I never expected anything like that, but it just shows you how many people watch golf, doesn’t it?”