Trophee Hassan II | Thursday 5 May - Sunday 8 May | Royal Golf Dar Es Salam
This week’s European tour event comes to us from the Dar Es Salam Royal Golf Course in Morocco. It seems the top players have had enough of the travel demands, leaving the riff-raff to fight it out in North Africa. The quality of this week’s field is decidedly poor, while a change in venue for the event means there's very little course form to go on - it's a bit like finding a lost cell phone in the middle of the Karoo.
Luckily for you readers that is something I’ve had some recent success with, so I’m ready to give it another crack. My strike rate has been pretty decent of late, but I’ve yet to pick an outright winner. Let’s hope that all that changes this week.
Dylan Frittelli (38/1 Win & 76/10 Place)
After a rather disappointing showing from Haydn Porteous a fortnight ago, I’m going to reload with another South African this week. Locals might not know much about Fritelli, but after winning the 2012 NCAA Championship with a Texas team that included a certain Jordan Spieth, he certainly has something about him. He’s won already on the Challenge Tour, while a Top 5 finish at the Australian PGA Championship in December has me believing he can do something in this weaker field.
Borja Virto Astudillo (63/1 Win & 12/1 Place)
Another youngster playing his first full season on the European Tour, Astudillo arrives this week having recorded his three best career results over the last three weeks, culminating in a T9 last week at the Volvo China Open. Having also come through the US collegiate system, Astudillo won twice on the Challenge Tour last year to earn his European Tour card. He’s improving week-on-week and in this weakened field, he could be in with a shot of picking up his first tour victory.
Andrew Johnston (20/1 Win & 44/10 Place)
A winner in his previous start at Valderamma, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the burly Englishman near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday. He navigated the tough Valderrama course with aplomb on his way to a maiden tour victory, but a look at his statistics for the season suggests it was no fluke. He ranks highly in driving accuracy and GIR, while the 66 he shot at the Qatar Masters shows he has what it takes to go low. He knows what it takes to win on the tour now and could well go on to be a multiple winner this season.
Alexander Levy (11/1 Win & 24/10 Place)
Now I’m not a big fan of taking the favourite, but there comes a time when every punter must go against his better judgement. This week is one of those times. The 25-year-old Frenchman is already a two-time winner on the European Tour and has shown good recent form on the circuit. He was second in Perth earlier this year and was tied fourth in the Shenzhen International two weeks ago. In a field of such limited quality, he is the standout player. The 11/1 on offer for an outright victory won’t last long. Get on it.
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