David Horsey (Getty Images)
David Horsey believes he can run into form just in time to retain his Trophée Hassan II title.
The 26 year old Englishman captured his second European Tour title at Golf du Palais Royal, but he has not had a top-ten finish since September’s KLM Open.
But Horsey is confident he can mount a strong title defence at the venue where he overcame 2010 winner Rhys Davies and Jaco Van Zyl in a play-off 12 months ago.
“It’s great to be back and obviously I have a lot of good memories of winning the tournament here last year,” he said.
“I played very well throughout the week last year apart from the very end when I tried to throw the tournament away a couple of times but thankfully I came through the play-off and managed to get the job done.
“My game feels like it is very close now and I would say that I am 90-95 per cent happy with everything now. I made a lot of changes this year, switching to Callaway clubs and I am now really getting used to the new clubs and equipment and I am ready to go.”
Golf du Palais Royal sits in the grounds of the Royal Palace of Agadir, and Horsey admits the exclusive nature of the venue adds to the tournaments excitement.
“It is a real privilege to be invited into the King’s back garden to have a whack round so to speak,” he added. “It wouldn’t be so bad to have that golf course in your back garden back home would it? We are very, very privileged to be invited to play here and once again the course is in fantastic condition so I am looking forward to the week ahead.
“The course is so perfect that there are points when you are playing this course that you almost feel embarrassed to take a divot out of the grass!
“The trophy, or the sword, that I won last year brought up some interesting questions from customs officials in Gatwick but I had all of the relevant paperwork in order to get it through there so I managed to get it home and it now takes pride of place on my mantelpiece back home. It would be very nice to add another one to the collection this week.”
Welshman Davies is also optimistic about his chances, after finishing first and second in the last two stagings.
“It’s great to be back in Morocco,” he said. “I obviously won in Rabat at a different venue but then came very close here last year and it is always nice to come back to a place where you have been in contention. That is the goal every week on Tour so to achieve that was very pleasing and I just hope that I can do it again this week.
“I wish I knew what it is that makes me play so well in Morocco but it is not an obvious answer. If I knew then I would definitely play well but the two courses that I have played here have been fantastic and I just love the characteristics of both. You have to shape the ball a bit and the wind can be a factor around this course. Also, you have to chip and putt well around this course and that is usually a strong part of my game.
“I had four good rounds in India a few weeks ago and that is still fresh in the memory so I feel that something good is going to happen for me soon.
“I have good memories of here and the surroundings. The country is great, the people are very welcoming and we are very fortunate to be here in Royal grounds again. I really enjoy coming here.”