The European Tour heads to Morocco for the tenth playing of the Trophée Hassan II since it became part of the Race to Dubai. Here are five things to keep a look out for.
One venue. Two Tours.
This week Royal Golf Dar Es Salam will play host to both the Ladies European Tour and the European Tour, with the male competitors teeing it up on the Red Course - while the female professionals will go head to head on the neighouring Blue Course.
All players are practising on the same driving range and putting green, and are also sharing the same Players' Lounge.
Both Alexander Levy and Sweden's Jenny Haglund are back to defend their titles in Morocco.
The Trophée Hassan II has been part of the European Tour International Schedule since 2010 but has never been won twice by a player.
During that time, the event has been won by nine different players from nine different countries; 2018 Levy (France), 2017 Edoardo Molinari (Italy), 2016 Jeunghun Wang (Korea), 2015 Richie Ramsay (Scotland), 2014 Alejandro Cañizares (Spain), 2013 Marcel Siem (Germany), 2012 Michael Hoey (Northern Ireland), 2011 Rhys Davies (Wales).
This week, eight of the previous nine winners of the event will tee it up, including defending champion Levy. The Frenchman clinched the title by one shot ahead of Alvaro Quiros to claim his fifth European Tour title. Can Levy become the first two-time winner of the event by defending his title this week?
The Trophée Hassan II is hosted by His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid, and was named for his father, Hassan II, who served as King of Morocco from 1929 to 1999.
The year will see Royal Golf Dar Es Salam stage its fifth consecutive Trophée Hassan II since it became a European Tour event, and it’s sixth overall. The golf course is just a stone’s throw from the Moroccan capital Rabat and was commissioned by King Hassan II, an avid golfer, as he wished to create a sports complex dedicated to golf.
The Trophée Hassan II only became a European Tour event in nine years ago, however, it is Morocco’s longest running sporting event, first being played in 1971.
The inaugural event was won by 1969 U.S. Open Championship winner Orville Moody, one of nine Major Champions to have tasted success at the event, including; Billy Casper (1973 and 1975), Lee Trevino (1977), Vijay Singh (1991), Payne Stewart (1992 and 1993), Nick Price (1995), David Toms (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007) and Ernie Els (2008).
Out of the nine times the Trophée Hassan II has been played on the European Tour, a play-off has been needed to decide the winner three times with the last coming in 2017.
Molinari beat Paul Dunne with a par on the first extra hole to claim an emotional comeback title. A year earlier, Jeunghun Wang recorded back-to-back birdies to see off Nacho Elvira to become the youngest champion of the event and the second youngest Korean player to win on the European Tour at 20 years and 244 days old. Horsey prevailed in 2011, beating Davies and Jaco van Zyl with a birdie on the second extra hole. Two years later Horsey finished the Trophée Hassan II in second, and a year later posted another top ten with his eight place finish in 2014. Horsey is in the field and is definitely a player to watch this week.
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