Well its been 5 weeks since the European Tour held an event and what an incredible 5 weeks its been. The European Tour boys have represented well on their travels to States and very much to the annoyance of poor old Grayson Murray they rocked up took a load of cash, some big world ranking points and even picked up a cheeky major in the process. Now unfortunately for Grayson and everyone this side of the pond most of the boys are enjoying their travels a little too much and have decided to stay for at least another week or 2.. Never the less we still have a superb upcoming event and once again a great opportunity to benefit through those lesser known and lower owned picks in your drafts.
Next Up - Trophee Hassan II - Royal Golf Dar Es Salam - Rabat - Morocco.
This week the European Tour re-visits Morocco for the Trophee Hassan II for its 7th straight year, the event is shared between 2 stunning locations and this time we return to the same venue it was played at last year, in my opinion the slightly better of the 2 and certainly more challenging course.
As usual they seem to like to add something slightly unique to the events played over here, so this time The Royal Gold Dar Es Salam venue will be shared with the Ladies European Tour. The men playing on the longer/ tougher red course and the ladies on the shorter/welcoming blue course... Lets just hope our picks are focused fully on their golf this week and not distracted by what's on offer on the neighbouring course.
The Red Course
Measuring at 7,615 yards this is one of the longer courses on tour, however it does usually play to a par of 73. With 5 par 5's available and all reachable in 2, the par 3's all measure 200 yards + and only 1 par 4 measuring less than 400 yards this should be a great test of golf and hopefully a chance to rack up some birdie or better points in your drafts. Last year they did reduce the length and par of the course but this year thank you to calm, dry weather it should be playing its full length and par.
Although the course length suggest bombing will be the order of the day, players will still have to keep the ball in play, the fairways are lined with tricky Kikuyu rough, most holes framed by trees and of course the odd water hazard will no doubt play its role. The green surfaces here are very pure, ok nowhere near as quick or undulating as what we saw last week and being Poa they will progressively become more lively as the day goes on
So everything looks set for a superb event, the course looks stunning, the weather couldn't be more perfect and although many names are missing we still have a solid field of quality players to enjoy watching.
Not much really to tell you about here, there will be very little wind to speak of, there is no rain expected and temperatures and conditions are absolutely ideal.
Strategy and key stats.
With 5 par 5's on offer this week it would be foolish not to take par 5 scoring and Eagle performance into consideration, with the length of the course I have to consider yardage from the tee accompanied with accuracy and due to the nature of its par 3's and 4's proximity to the hole with mid to longer irons in hand will also hold some weight in this weeks picks. As always players who score well on and around the greens will be included
When looking at course history we really only have last year to go on, before that it was several years since it had been played here and the last time back in 2010 in was a very different course, much shorter, less hazards and in general a much easier test of golf.. Last year scoring wasn't impressive by any stretch of the imagination. Only 9 players finished with scores better than par and the best of those coming from Wang (playoff winner) and Elveria who both ended their 4 rounds at -5. However with no rain I fully expect better scoring this time around and a finishing total much closer to the usual -20.
Form is also a tough one to call you have to dig a lot deeper to understand what players have been up to of late, most of the fieldd have not been travelling across to play anything state side, the certainly haven't played anything on the European Tour for 5 weeks. So most have returned to playing on their smaller national tours and some have even resorted to playing some of the events on development tours that I play on and even gone back to playing regional club professional 1 day tournaments.
Dean Burmester - $11,700 - By a long way, my top pick within this category. Has the length to demolish the par 5's, His all round game is solid and of course lets not forget how talented he is with putter in hand. 6 starts this year, 1 win, 3 top 10s and not missed a cut.
I also intend to play a little Jordan Smith - $10,400 - Super talented young player, has the same attributes as mentioned above with Dean. Was looking a little tired after his blistering start to his European Tour career, playing 9 back to back events. No doubt the rest and opportunity to relax a little will have served him well and back out with another top 10 this week.
$9,000 - $10,000
The two players I really like in this group are both from Spain, Pablo Larrazabal $9,200 and Jorge Campillo $9,100. Well before the end of the Masters both of these players were on my Radar for this event. With Sergio piking up his 1st major at Augusta it would not surprise me if we saw an inspired winner from Spain again. (Garcia won in Dubai, Rahm won his first PGA event the following week) I'm not one to usually stereotype or generalise however its no secret that the Spanish players thrive off of inspiration and passion.. Campillo in cash - Larrazabal in gpp.
$8,000 - $9,000
Only the 1 for me here and that M. Lerenzo-Vera $8,100. His form has been great, pops up in a load of stats and this course should play perfectly to his game. 4 events, no missed cuts and 2 top 10's.. Will be my banker to make the cut and potentially compete for the win.
$7,000 - $8,000
There's a load of options in this section, starting with the 2 that I believe will comfortably finish in top 25 spots are Mikko Korhonen $7,900 and Alexander Bjork $7,800
The other 3 I would feel more comfortable playing in GPP are
Thomas Detry $7,300, another super talent coming out of Belgium, is very capable of going low and holds a record for lowest 4 round total of -29.
Aaron Rai $7,100 won on the Challenge tour last week by 3 shots, has played 2 European Tour events so far this year and made the cut in both, knows how to win and full of confidence.
Nacho Elveria $7,100 very surprised his price is as low as it is especially considering he came 2nd here last year losing in a play off to Wang. Very streaky player but with 5 par 5's he can attack and he can obviously handle the course in tougher conditions there should be no reason to not do well here again.
First of all I have to start by saying what a ridiculous category this is... I think Draft Kings may be suffering massively with Masters hangover, ran out of time and dumped over 2/3 of the field into this section. Because the list is so long I'm going to give you a handful to really consider, anyone not mentioned that you like yourself I'm happy to help where I can through Twitter.
L.Bjerregaard $6,900, C. Paisley $6,900, Max Orin $6,900, R Ramsay $6,600, N. Kimsey $6,600, R. Rock $6,600, T. Lewis $6,400, S. Dyson $6,400, L. Jensen $6,400, G. King $6,200, G. Porteouse $6,200, Daniel Im $6,200, A. Chesters $6,100 and lastly S.Soderberg $6,100
Anyway that's me done for this week, not going to lie its been a slog getting back into the research and digging deep, however I couldn't be happier to be back writing for you all again. Hope you enjoy and best of luck in all your drafts