Rhys Davies is set to make his European Challenge Tour return at this week’s Lalla Aïcha Challenge Tour almost a year after stepping away from the game to spend more time with his young family.
The Welshman will return to action at the scene of his 2010 European Tour triumph, Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Morocco, where he captured the Trophée Hassan II title in spectacular fashion, closing with a seven under par round of 66 to claim a two-shot victory over South African Louis Oosthuizen.
The four-time Challenge Tour winner, who rose to 44th in the Official World Golf Ranking in his maiden season on the European Tour, returns to action for the first time since last November with a new mindset after a year spent enjoying time with his 16-month-old son.
“I needed a break,” he said. “Golf wise I was a little bit frazzled but also, I’ve got a young son at home who I’ve really enjoyed spending time with over the last year or so, helping out as much as I can and just being a part of his early life. I’ve found it incredibly refreshing and I’ve just been really happy to spend that precious time with him.
“I’ve played a couple of competition rounds at my golf club and played a small tournament a few weeks back where my golf was certainly quite mixed. It’s obviously going to be a very different challenge this week. It’s a strong golf course and it might take a while to get back into that slightly different and pressured environment.
“It’s going to be more intense than what I’ve been used to as of late but I’m looking forward to that challenge. I really don’t know what is going to happen, but I know I’m ready now to give it my best and to go out there and see how low I can go.”
Heralded for his exceptional short game, Davies was once described by Luke Donald as the best putter in the world and has twice graduated from the Challenge Tour, most recently in 2015. However, it is in Morocco where he has achieved his best results, finishing runner-up at the Trophée Hassan II in 2011 a year after winning in Rabat.
The Challenge Tour returns to Morocco this week for the first time in almost a decade, with the tournament coming at a pivotal time on the Road to Mallorca, with just four events remaining before the season-ending Challenge Tour Grand Final.
While Davies triumphed on the Red Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, which plays annual host to the European Tour, the Challenge Tour players will be faced with a new challenge this week when they tackle the equally testing Blue Course.
Davies will begin his first round at 8:20am local time alongside Austrian Martin Wiegele and England’s Paul Maddy, with day one getting under way in Rabat at 8:00am.