After a two-week break, the European Tour heads to Morocco this week for the 2019 Trophee Hassan II.
Between 1971 and 2009, this event was a limited-field invitation, but this will be the tenth year it has been a full-field event on the European Tour.
However, this will only be the fourth consecutive year that the tournament has been played at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salem, having been played at the Gold Du Palais between 2011 and 2015.
The course is a Par 72 that measures over 7,500 yards and winning totals of –5, -8, and –9 in the last three years shows it provides players with a stern test. The course was designed by Robert Trent-Jones and trees line the average-width fairways that are Kikuyu grass. The greens were made bigger and more contoured before the 2018 edition, to put more emphasis on short game skills.
It’s easy to make a case for several market leaders this week. Joost Luiten is favourite with most bookmakers and, after three top-12s in his last four tournaments, he could easily better last-year’s ninth-place finish. Jordan Smith is similar, and his seventh-place finish last time out suggests he may better his best tournament finish of eighth in 2017.
However, at slightly bigger odds, Andy Sullivan gets the first place in this week’s player portfolio. The former Ryder Cupper is trending nicely after finishing eleventh and seventh in his last two tournaments. He’s also shown he can handle the demands of this layout with seventh-place last year, whilst he finished runner-up in this event in 2014.
Victor Dubuisson is another former member of the European Ryder Cup Team that is expected to return to his best sooner rather than later. He finished tenth when last seen and he also showed his liking for this course when fourth in 2017. He’s won twice in Turkey and conditions may play similar this week.
It’s also impossible to exclude Nacho Elvira from this week’s staking plan as the Spaniard finished second in the 2016 renewal and is in the form of his life at the moment. He’s twice finished runner-up in his last three tournaments and was sixth in the other. Hopefully, he can return in the same sort of form after a three-week break.
The 2017 Trophee Hassan II runner-up Paul Dunne is another player that has looked like he could be coming back to his best in his recent tournaments. He’s recorded a third-place already this season and has posted two other top-20 finishes recently. He also has some of the best short game skills on the European Tour, and that could be a big advantage this week.
The fifth and final of this week Trophee Hassan II picks is Callum Shinkwin, and the young Englishman looks overpriced considering his efforts this season. He’s recorded two top-10 finishes in his last four tournaments, but that doesn’t tell the whole story as he’s got himself into contention in the last of those tournaments, only failing to hit the top-5 after hitting it into a hazard when going for a tournament-winning shot. He’s also finished thirteenth twice in Morocco in the last three-years and he’s capable of contending this week at decent odds.